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 defense of the Federal estate tax it is said that it will tend to check the growth of large fortunes. But is not such a Federal death tax a penalty on industry, thrift, and business success? The estate tax is communistic in essence; and no party except the Socialist party endorses the Federal estate tax.

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Washington Post.
02/07/1926 | 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

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

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.