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

To the demagogue and the man of small means, who pays heavy indirect taxes where he thinks pays none, this looks like taking money from the millionaire and ‘giving it back to the people.’ To any economist it looks like eating up he seed corn, because in effect is s exactly that.

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Wall Street Journal.
02/04/1921 | Full Details | Law(s): Tax: Estate

They [higher estate tax and provisions for publicity of individual tax returns] are both not only stupid but malevolent expressions of the class feeling and socialist theorizing which are infecting American thought and even shaping our laws… It is astonishing that an American congress with, presumably, some sense at least of the significance of American experience and achievement and some sense of the cause and meaning of the Russian folly before it, should care or dare to experiment in confiscation.

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Chicago Daily Tribune,
06/04/1924 | 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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Chicago Daily Tribune.
04/04/1924 | 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.