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

Estate taxes, carried to an excess, in no way differ from the methods of the revolutionists in Russia.

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

It is proposed to take capital and to use it in the ordinary operating expenses of Government…We are thus to live, not on income, but on principal, and to that extent we exhaust our resources and prevent the industrial expansion essential to our increasing population and our high standard of living.

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Calvin Coolidge, New York Times.
06/01/1924 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

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.

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

[H]igh inheritance and estate taxes do compel the sale of assets, with consequent changes in ownership, shifts in management and generally dislocating effects.

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Washington Post.
08/09/1935 | 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.