Estate and Gift Tax, Federal

Research Report

Estate and Gift Tax, Federal

From The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy
September 30, 1999


The estate and gift tax is the only wealth tax levied by the federal government and is the federal tax treatment of wealth transferred in contemplation of, or at the time of, death. The estate tax was first enacted in 1916 and applied to the wealth of decedents with estates in excess of $50,000. This article provides the purpose, the tax base, exclusions, deducations, the rate structure, tax credits, and tax deferral for the estate and gift tax. It also include its impact on income distribution and behavior.

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.