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.
Cry Wolf Quotes
Invested in reproductive enterprise this capital pays taxes again and again. Squandered by Government departments it is only spent once.
[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.
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.
Another seriously untoward effect unavoidably inherent in inheritance taxation is that by such taxation a portion of the capital fund of the nation is transferred into the coffers of the Government, and by it used for operating expenses.
Related Laws and Rules
Estate Tax Basics
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains the reality of the much-mythologized estate tax.
Conservative Commentator Examines the History of Right-Wing Tax Cut Hypocrisy
Hard right-wingers fear-monger in the face of tax increases of both Republican and Democratic administations.
Tax Cuts on the Rich Don't Spur Economic Growth
The Center for American Progress takes apart supply side myths.