Taxes: Estate

Taxes: Estate

The estate tax or “inheritance tax” is levied upon the transfer of the taxable assets of a deceased person.   First adopted in the nineteen century as temporary taxes to fund wars, the Federal estate tax in its current form has been on the books since 1916 as a vital instrument of progressive taxation.    The tax rate and exemption levels have changed over the years. A number of states also have estate taxes.  Recent attempts at repeal of the federal tax have been prevented but tax rates are lower and exemption levels higher.

Commentary

Taxes and the wealthy

Will Higher Taxes on the Rich Kill Jobs?

December 01, 2010

Cry Wolf Quotes

In defense of the Federal estate tax it is said that it will tend to check the growth of large fortunes. But is not such a Federal death tax a penalty on industry, thrift, and business success? The estate tax is communistic in essence; and no party except the Socialist party endorses the Federal estate tax.

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Washington Post.
02/07/1926 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

To the demagogue and the man of small means, who pays heavy indirect taxes where he thinks pays none, this looks like taking money from the millionaire and ‘giving it back to the people.’ To any economist it looks like eating up he seed corn, because in effect is s exactly that.

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Wall Street Journal.
02/04/1921 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

[Estates] are valuable only for what they can produce. If seized by the government they can produce nothing, and if such seizures increase in amount beyond a reasonable limit they must prove not only valueless in themselves but must destroy the sources of production which otherwise would continue to finance the government and provide for the people.

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Chicago Daily Tribune.
04/04/1924 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

I do not believe that the Government should seek social legislation in the guise of taxation. If we are to adopt socialism, it should be presented to the people of this country as socialism, and not under the guise of a law to collect revenue.

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President Calvin Coolidge, Washington Post.
02/20/1925 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Estate Tax Policy Brief

By Joseph J. Thorndike

Since at least the 1920s, estate tax opponents had been trotting out the same litany of warnings and complaints about the Estate Tax. 

Resources

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is a think tank focused on tax and fiscal policy. They provide in-depth analysis of state issues.

Citizens for Tax Justice is an organization that represents low and middle income citizens in the tax debates on Capitol Hill.