The Carter administration yesterday unveiled another new compromise offer in its bid to get congress to lift its deferral of a controversial 1976 law designed to boost taxes on profits from the sale of inherited property.
The revised measure, intended to meet criticism that the 1976 legislation is too burdensome and cimplex, would simplify computation procedures and pare the scope of the law to limit the tax to a relatively few wealthy estates.
The bill, a modification of a measure sponsored last year by former Sen. William Hathaway (D-Me.), would confine the new tax to estates valued at $175,000 and over, with sizable exemptions for farms and close-held businesses.
In addition, the Treasury had liberalized an earlier exemption to designed to account for the heir's earlier payment of regular estate taxes, and provided extra relief to protect heirs from having to sell their property to finance the taxes.
Details of the new proposal were sent last week to Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. (Ind-Va.), chairman of a Senate Finance subcommittee that is considering changes in the 1976 law. Byrd cut off hearings a few weeks ago to await the new plan.
The administration also is hoping to prod the House Ways and Means Committee into considering the measure this year. Rep. Joseph L. Fisher (D-Va.), a Ways and Means member, is sponsoring the Treasury proposal in the House.
The 1976 legislation was designed to prevent wealthy taxpayers who sell assets that they inherit from escaping income taxes on the profits. The bill was a centerpiece of the 1976 Tax Reform Act.
Shortly after the 1976 legislation was enacted, however, conservatives began a vigorous campaign to postpone or repeal the law. Congress voted last year to defer the 1976 law until 1980, and Byrd is seeking to kill the provision entirely.
The new proposal goes somewhat beyond last year's effort. The White House has made the issue a major priority for the administration, but all sides agree Carter is facing heavy odds in his effort to push it through Congress.
The new Treasury proposal includes these elements:
The law would be changed to limit the nex tax to estates of $175,000 or more, from an effective limit of $60,000 in the 1976 legislation - a shift Treasury asserts will confine the tax to 55,000 wealthy estates a year.
The so-called 'death-tax adjustment," designed to compensate for prior payment of regular estate taxes, would be liberalized and simplified. Taxpayers would be able to compute this section using a Treasury-provided table.
The measure would provide extra "liquidity relief" to reduce the possibility that some taxpayers may have to sell portions of their property to finance the taxes owed, by liberalizing eligibility for extended payments.
The proposal also would change the "fresh start" clause in the 1976 legislation by allowing taxpayers to use a simple formula for computing the base year on certain assets, without the need for keeping detailed records. CAPTION: Picture, REP. JOSEPH L. FISHER . . . House sponsor