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

These taxes are a levy upon capital. There is no requirement in our law, as there is in the English law, that the proceeds from estate taxes shall go into capital improvements of the Government. In other words, capital is being destroyed for current operating expenses and the cumulative effect of such destruction cannot fail to be harmful to the country.

-
Andrew W. Mellon.
04/01/1924 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

If America had not been free to any man to make his fortune within the law and within his abilities, we would not be the great nation we are today. To destroy incentive by excessive taxation is to lessen the production and the prosperity of the country.

-
Calvin Coolidge, Los Angeles Times.
02/20/1925 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

[President Roosevelt’s endorsement of an inheritance tax gave] more encouragement to state socialism and centralization of government than all the frothy demagogues have accomplished in a quarter of a century of agitation of the muddy waters of discontent.

-
The Philadelphia Record
04/14/1906 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

They [higher estate tax and provisions for publicity of individual tax returns] are both not only stupid but malevolent expressions of the class feeling and socialist theorizing which are infecting American thought and even shaping our laws… It is astonishing that an American congress with, presumably, some sense at least of the significance of American experience and achievement and some sense of the cause and meaning of the Russian folly before it, should care or dare to experiment in confiscation.

-
Chicago Daily Tribune,
06/04/1924 | 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.