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

[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

[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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Otto H. Kahn, New York Times.
02/29/1924 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

One of the foundations of our American civilization is equality of opportunity, which presupposes the right of each man to enjoy the fruits of his labor after contributing his fair share to the support of the Government, which protects him and his property. But that is a very different matter from confiscating a part of his wealth, not because the country requires it for the prosecution of a war or some other purpose, but because he seems to have more money than he needs.

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Andrew W. Mellon.
04/01/1924 | 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

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.