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

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

[The estate tax] represents a real tax on capital, and such a tax is necessarily unsound and unscientific because it tends to defeat itself as a revenue producer.

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F.W. Denio, American Bankers Association, Washington Post.
10/24/1925 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

Death taxes are based entirely upon capital. This capital can be destroyed either by taking it from its owners and using it for maintenance of government, or what amounts to the same thing, by diminishing its value, or by checking the incentive for its production. That is actually happening.

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Undersecretary of the Treasury Garrard B. Winston, Los Angeles Times.
10/14/1924 | 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.