The Life (and Death?) of the Estate and Gift Tax

Research Report

The Life (and Death?) of the Estate and Gift Tax

Abstract

The modern federal estate and gift tax imposes a graduated tax schedule on transfers of property at death (the estate tax) and while living (the gift tax). Supporters of the tax see it as a way of ensuring that the wealthiest of Americans pay a larger share of taxes or else give away a larger share of their wealth to charity. Detractors view it as a "death tax"--a complex, unfair, and inefficient levy that penalizes the thriftiness of the deceased.

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