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

[Estates] are valuable only for what they can produce. If seized by the government they can produce nothing, and if such seizures increase in amount beyond a reasonable limit they must prove not only valueless in themselves but must destroy the sources of production which otherwise would continue to finance the government and provide for the people.

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Chicago Daily Tribune.
04/04/1924 | 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

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

The Federal Government should keep estate taxes as a reserve in times of national stress. All prior inheritance taxes have been war taxes; and it is only now that it is proposed to destroy this reserve in times when revenues from other sources are adequate and even in excess of the Nation's needs. Such a course of action is not only thoroughly unsound but borders on economic suicide.

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Andrew W. Mellon.
04/01/1924 | 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.