Tax: Estate

Tax: Estate

The estate tax is levied upon the "taxable estate" of a fantastically wealthy deceased person to any recipient (with certain allowances made for federally-recognized spouses and charitable organizations). The vast majority of people are unaffected by the estate tax. As of 2011, $5 million can be transferred from the taxable estate of a deceased individual without becoming eligible for the estate tax.

Cry Wolf Quotes

In considering a revision of estate taxes, there should be eliminated any question of levying the tax as a means of punishing wealth or as in some way for the social good of our civilization…The theory upon which this country was founded is equality of opportunity. So long as a man uses his abilities within the bounds of the moral sense of the community, monetary success is not a crime, but on the contrary adds to the total wealth of the country and to an increase in the standard of living as a whole.

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

We believe that a tax system designed to penalize the small group of wealthy individuals for the benefit of the others injures all groups by diminishing the incentive to productive effort, thereby reducing the total output available for distribution, which really constitutes the national income. … We oppose this Federal tax program on the ground that high estate and inheritance taxes tend to dissipate the aggregations of wealth on which industry depends for its capital and on which the government depends for a substantial part of its revenue under the present income taxes.

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Guarantee Trust Company of New York, New York Times.
07/29/1935 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

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.

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Otto H. Kahn, New York Times.
02/29/1924 | 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

Evidence

  • Estate Tax Basics

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains the reality of the much-mythologized estate tax.

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.