Today, U.S. Representatives Peter J. Roskam (R-IL), Ron Kind (D-WI), Ryan Costello (R-PA), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Stop Taxing Death and Disability Act. The bill, which previously passed unanimously through the Ways & Means Committee in the 114th Congress, would eliminate a cruel tax penalty levied against families that accept student loan forgiveness following the death or permanent disability of a child.
Rep. Roskam released the following statement:
"The loss of a child takes a nearly unimaginable toll on any family. The federal government offers to forgive student loan debt in these circumstances -- and it's the right thing to do. The IRS, however, pours salt into the wounds of these families by taxing them on the death of their child. Congress has the power to put this shameful practice to an end. We should do so without delay."
The federal government forgives certain student loan debt accrued by individuals who die or suffer permanent disability. The IRS, however, treats the loan forgiveness as income -- it becomes a taxable event. Grieving families, already dealing with the emotional and financial burdens of a tragic event, are slapped with a tax bill that could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
In the U.S. Senate, a companion bill has been introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Angus King (I-ME).