Estate tax in the United States

Estate tax in the United States

The estate tax in the United States is a tax imposed on the transfer of the "taxable estate" of a deceased person, whether such property is transferred via a will, according to the state laws of intestacy or otherwise made as an incident of the death of the owner, such as a transfer of property from an intestate estate or trust, or the payment of certain life insurance benefits or financial account sums to beneficiaries. The estate tax is one part of the Unified Gift and Estate Tax system in the United States. The other part of the system, the gift tax, imposes a tax on transfers of property during a person's life; the gift tax prevents avoidance of the estate tax should a person want to give away his/her estate.

In addition to the federal government, many states also impose an estate tax, with the state version called either an estate tax or an inheritance tax. Since the 1990s, opponents of the tax have used the pejorative term "death tax."[1] The equivalent tax in the United Kingdom has always been referred to as "inheritance tax".

If an asset is left to a (Federally recognized) spouse or a charitable organization, the tax usually does not apply.

For deaths occurring in 2010, up to $5,000,000 can be passed from an individual upon his or her death without incurring estate tax.[2]


Federal estate tax

The Federal estate tax is imposed "on the transfer of the taxable estate of every decedent who is a citizen or resident of the United States."[3] The starting point in the calculation is the "gross estate."[4] Certain deductions (subtractions) from the "gross estate" amount are allowed in arriving at a smaller amount called the "taxable estate."

The "gross estate"

The "gross estate" for Federal estate tax purposes often includes more property than that included in the "probate estate" under the property laws of the state in which the decedent lived at the time of death. The gross estate (before the modifications) may be considered to be the value of all the property interests of the decedent at the time of death. To these interests are added the following property interests generally not owned by the decedent at the time of death:

  • the value of property to the extent of an interest held by the surviving spouse as a "dower or curtesy";[5]
  • the value of certain items of property in which the decedent had, at any time, made a transfer during the three years immediately preceding the date of death (i.e., even if the property was no longer owned by the decedent on the date of death), other than certain gifts, and other than property sold for full value;[6]
  • the value of certain property transferred by the decedent before death for which the decedent retained a "life estate", or retained certain "powers";[7]
  • the value of certain property in which the recipient could, through ownership, have possession or enjoyment only by surviving the decedent;[8]
  • the value of certain property in which the decedent retained a "reversionary interest", the value of which exceeded five percent of the value of the property;[9]
  • the value of certain property transferred by the decedent before death where the transfer was revocable;[10]
  • the value of certain annuities;[11]
  • the value of certain jointly owned property, such as assets passing by operation of law or survivorship, i.e. joint tenants with rights of survivorship or tenants by the entirety, with special rules for assets owned jointly by spouses.;[12]
  • the value of certain "powers of appointment";[13]
  • the amount of proceeds of certain life insurance policies.[14]

The above list of modifications is not comprehensive.

As noted above, life insurance benefits may be included in the gross estate (even though the proceeds arguably were not "owned" by the decedent and were never received by the decedent). Life insurance proceeds are generally included in the gross estate if the benefits are payable to the estate, or if the decedent was the owner of the life insurance policy or had any "incidents of ownership" over the life insurance policy (such as the power to change the beneficiary designation). Similarly, bank accounts or other financial instruments which are "payable on death" or "transfer on death" are usually included in the taxable estate, even though such assets are not subject to the probate process under state law.

Deductions and the taxable estate

Once the value of the "gross estate" is determined, the law provides for various "deductions" (in Part IV of Subchapter A of Chapter 11 of Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code) in arriving at the value of the "taxable estate." Deductions include but are not limited to:

  • Funeral expenses, administration expenses, and claims against the estate;[15]
  • Certain charitable contributions;[16]
  • Certain items of property left to the surviving spouse.[17]
  • Beginning in 2005, inheritance or estate taxes paid to states or the District of Columbia.[18]

Of these deductions, the most important is the deduction for property passing to (or in certain kinds of trust, for) the surviving spouse, because it can eliminate any federal estate tax for a married decedent. However, this unlimited deduction does not apply if the surviving spouse (not the decedent) is not a U.S. citizen.[19] A special trust called a Qualified Domestic Trust or QDOT must be used to obtain an unlimited marital deduction for otherwise disqualified spouses.[20]

Tentative tax

The tentative tax is based on the tentative tax base, which is the sum of the taxable estate and the "adjusted taxable gifts" (i.e., taxable gifts made after 1976). For decedents dying after December 31, 2009, the tentative tax will, with exceptions, be calculated by applying the following tax rates:

Lower Limit Upper Limit Initial Taxation Further Taxation
0 $10,000 $0 18% of the amount
$10,000 $20,000 $1,800 20% of the excess
$20,000 $40,000 $3,800 22% of the excess
$40,000 $60,000 $8,200 24% of the excess
$60,000 $80,000 $13,000 26% of the excess
$80,000 $100,000 $18,200 28% of the excess
$100,000 $150,000 $23,800 30% of the excess
$150,000 $250,000 $38,800 32% of the excess
$250,000 $500,000 $70,800 34% of the excess
$500,000 and over $155,800 35% of the excess

--Internal Revenue Code section 2001(c), as amended by section 302(a)(2) of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), Pub. L. No. 111-312, ___ Stat. ___ (Dec. 17, 2010).

The tentative tax is reduced by gift tax that would have been paid on the adjusted taxable gifts, based on the rates in effect on the date of death (which means that the reduction is not necessarily equal to the gift tax actually paid on those gifts).

Credits against tax

There are several credits against the tentative tax, the most important of which is a "unified credit" which can be thought of as providing for an "exemption equivalent" or exempted value with respect to the sum of the taxable estate and the taxable gifts during lifetime.

For a person dying during 2006, 2007, or 2008, the "applicable exclusion amount" is $2,000,000, so if the sum of the taxable estate plus the "adjusted taxable gifts" made during lifetime equals $2,000,000 or less, there is no federal estate tax to pay. According to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the applicable exclusion increased to $3,500,000 in 2009, the estate tax was repealed for estates of decedents dying in 2010, but then the Act "sunsets" in 2011 and the estate tax was to reappear with an applicable exclusion amount of only $1,000,000. However, On December 16, 2010, Congress passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 17, 2010. The 2010 Act changed, among other things, the rate structure for estates of decedents dying after December 31, 2009, subject to certain exceptions. It also served to reunify the estate tax credit (aka exemption equivalent) with the federal gift tax credit (aka exemption equivalent). The gift tax exemption is now equal to $5,000,000.

The 2010 Act also provided portability to the credit, allowing a surviving spouse to use that portion of the pre-deceased spouses credit that was not previously used (i.e. Husband dies and used $3 million of his credit. At his wife's death, she can use her $5 million credit plus the remaining $2 million of her husband's).

If the estate includes property that was inherited from someone else within the preceding 10 years, and there was estate tax paid on that property, there may also be a credit for property previously taxed.

Before 2005, there was also a credit for non-federal estate taxes, but that credit was phased out by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

Requirements for filing return and paying tax

For estates larger than the current federally exempted amount, any estate tax due is paid by the executor, other person responsible for administering the estate, or the person in possession of the decedent's property. That person is also responsible for filing a Form 706 return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The return must contain detailed information as to the valuations of the estate assets and the exemptions claimed, to ensure that the correct amount of tax is paid. The deadline for filing the Form 706 is 9 months from the date of the decedent's death. The payment may be extended, but not to exceed 12 months, but the return must be filed by the 9 month deadline.

Exemptions and tax rates

Year Exclusion
tax rate
2001 $675,000 55%
2002 $1 million 50%
2003 $1 million 49%
2004 $1.5 million 48%
2005 $1.5 million 47%
2006 $2 million 46%
2007 $2 million 45%
2008 $2 million 45%
2009 $3.5 million 45%
2010 * Repealed * 35%
2011 $5 million 35%
* See paragraph in this section
  with respect to reinstatement
  of this exemption

As noted above, a certain amount of each estate is exempted from taxation by the federal government. Below is a table of the amount of exemption by year an estate would expect. Estates above these amounts would be subject to estate tax, but only for the amount above the exemption.

For example, assume an estate of $3.5 million in 2006. There are two beneficiaries who will each receive equal shares of the estate. The maximum allowable credit is $2 million for that year, so the taxable value is therefore $1.5 million. Since it is 2006, the tax rate on that $1.5 million is 46%, so the total taxes paid would be $690,000. Each beneficiary will receive $1,000,000 of untaxed inheritance and $405,000 from the taxable portion of their inheritance for a total of $1,405,000. This means that they would have paid (or, more precisely, the estate would have paid) a taxable rate of 19.7%.

As shown, the 2001 tax act would have repealed the estate tax for one year (2010) and would then have readjusted it in 2011 to the year 2002 exemption level with a 2001 top rate. However, on December 17, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. Section 301 of the 2010 Act reinstates the federal estate tax. The new law sets the exemption at $5 million per person.[21] A top tax rate of 35 percent is provided for the years 2011 and 2012.[22]

Inheritance tax at the state level

Many U.S. states also impose their own estate or inheritance taxes[23] (see Ohio estate tax for an example), and some, such as Kentucky, impose both.[24] Some states "piggyback" on the federal estate tax law in regard to estates subject to tax (i.e., if the estate is exempt from federal taxation it is also exempt from state taxation, e.g. Pennsylvania, 72 P.S. Section 9111(r). Some states' estate taxes, however, operate independently of federal law, so it is possible for an estate to be subject to state tax while exempt from federal tax. In Kentucky, the inheritance tax operates separately from either the state or federal estate tax; the inheritance tax is imposed on beneficiaries and based on the amount received from the estate, with some close relatives exempt from this tax by statute.[24]

Tax mitigation

Estate tax rates and complexity have driven a vast array of support services to assist clients with a perceived eligibility for the estate tax to develop tax avoidance techniques. Many insurance companies maintain a network of life insurance agents, all providing financial planning services, guided towards providing death benefit that covers paying estate taxes. Many suggested techniques involve products that can be costly, though the outlay is often only a small fraction of the estate tax liability. Brokerage and financial planning firms also use estate planning, including estate tax avoidance, as a marketing technique. Many law firms also specialize in estate planning, tax avoidance, and minimization of estate taxes.

The first technique many use is to combine the tax exemption limits for a husband and wife by their testamentary documents, using what is known as a credit shelter trust. Many, but not all, other techniques recommended by those selling products with high fees, do not really avoid the estate tax, rather they claim to provide a leveraged way to have liquidity to pay for the tax at the time of death. It is very important for those whose primary wealth is in a business they own, or real estate, or stocks, to seek professional legal advice. In one technique marketed by commissioned agents, an irrevocable life insurance trust is recommended, where the parents give their children funds to pay the premiums on life insurance on the parents. Structured in this way, life insurance proceeds can be free of estate tax. However, if the parents have a very high net worth and the life insurance policy would be inadequate in size due to the limits in premiums, a charitable remainder trust may be recommended, but should be critically reviewed. The client, however, may lose access to the asset placed in the CRUT. Proponents of the estate tax, and lobbyists for high commission financial products, argue the tax should be maintained to encourage this form of charity.


Arguments in favor

Proponents of the estate tax argue that it serves to prevent the perpetuation of wealth, free of tax, in wealthy families and that it is necessary to a system of progressive taxation.[25] Proponents point out that the estate tax affects only estates of considerable size (in 2011, over $5 million USD, and $10 million USD for couples) and provides numerous credits (including the unified credit) that allow a significant portion of even large estates to escape taxation. Regarding the tax's effect on farmers, proponents counter that this criticism is misguided as there is an exemption built into the law that is specifically designed for family-owned farms.[26] Proponents note that abolishing the estate tax will result in tens of billions of dollars being lost annually from the federal budget.[27]

Furthermore, supporters argue that many large fortunes do not represent taxed income or savings, that wealth is not being taxed but merely the transfer of that wealth, and that many large fortunes represent unrealized capital gains which (because of a step up in basis at the time of death) will never be taxed as capital gains under the federal income tax.[28]

Another argument in favor of the estate tax relates to comparative incentives. Proponents argue that the estate tax is a better source of revenue than the income tax, which is said to directly disincentivize work. While all taxes have this effect to a degree, some argue that the estate tax is less of a disincentive since it does not tax money that the earner spends, but merely that which he or she wishes to give away for non-charitable purposes. Moreover, some argue that allowing the rich to bequeath unlimited wealth on future generations will disincentivize hard work in those future generations.[27] Winston Churchill argued that estate taxes are “a certain corrective against the development of a race of idle rich”. Research suggests that the more wealth that older people inherit, the more likely they are to leave the labor market.[29]

Proponents of the estate tax tend to object to characterizations that it operates as a double or triple taxation. Proponents point out that many of the earnings that are subject to the estate tax were never taxed because they were "unrealized" gains.[26] Others note that double and triple taxation is common (through income, property, and sales taxes, for instance) or argue that the estate tax should be seen as a single tax on the inheritors of large estates.

Supporters of the estate tax also point to longstanding historical precedent for limiting inheritance, and note that current generational transfers of wealth are greater than they have been historically. In ancient times, funeral rites for lords and chieftains involved significant wealth expenditure on sacrifices to religious deities, feasting, and ceremonies. The well-to-do were literally buried or burned along with most of their wealth. These traditions may have been imposed by religious edict but they served a real purpose, which was to prevent accumulation of great disparities of wealth, which tended to destabilize societies and lead to social imbalance, eventual revolution, or disruption of functioning economic systems.

Proponents also note that the arguments of estate tax opponents are occasionally disingenuous. For example, while opponents point to family farmers and small business owners in an effort to demonstrate the unfairness or overreach of the tax, proponents note that nearly all family farmers and small business owners are exempt from or are not subject to the estate tax.[26]

Arguments against

One argument against the estate tax is that the tax obligation in itself can assume a disproportionate role in planning, possibly overshadowing more fundamental decisions about the underlying assets. In certain cases, this is claimed to create an undue burden. For example, pending estate taxes could become an artificial disincentive to further investment in an otherwise viable business – increasing the appeal of tax- or investment-reducing alternatives such as liquidation, downsizing, divestiture, or retirement. This could be especially true when an estate's value is about to surpass the exemption equivalent amount. Older individuals owning farms or small businesses, when weighing ongoing investment risks and marginal rates of return in light of tax factors, may see less value in maintaining these taxable enterprises. They may instead decide to reduce risk and preserve capital, by shifting resources, liquidating assets, and using tax avoidance techniques such as insurance policies, gift transfers, trusts, and tax free investments[30]

The estate tax burdens farmers because agriculture involves the use of many capital assets, such as land and equipment, to generate the same amount of income that other types of businesses generate with fewer assets. Individuals, partnerships, and family corporations own 98 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms and ranches. The estate tax may force surviving family members to sell land, buildings, or equipment to keep their operation going.[31]

Another argument against the estate tax is a moral one. Proponents continually offer that the inheritor of wealth doesn't deserve the wealth because, simply, he or she did not earn it directly. While it may be true that the receiver of wealth may not have a direct moral claim to that wealth, those opposed to the estate tax would argue that, neither does anyone else. This argument would further assert that the rights to that wealth lie with the deceased persons, the person who earned it originally and who paid taxes on it continually while living. The rights lie with the deceased to dispose of his or her wealth as he or she sees fit, whether that disposition be in the form of a charitable gift, a check to the government, or a gift to a chosen heir. (Rand, 1967) This argument would assert that anyone claiming that an heir does not deserve inherited wealth could certainly not claim a right to use the power of government to confiscate that wealth on behalf of unknown others who most certainly would not deserve the wealth by that same line of thinking. To quote an Investor's Business Daily editorial, "People should not be punished because they work hard, become successful and want to pass on the fruits of their labor, or even their ancestors' labor, to their children. As has been said, families shouldn't be required to visit the undertaker and the tax collector on the same day.".[32]

Free market critics of the estate tax also point out that many attempts at validating the estate tax assume the superiority of socialist/collectivist economic models. For example, proponents of the tax commonly argue that "excess wealth" should be taxed without offering a definition of what "excess wealth" could possibly mean and why it would be undesirable if procured through legal efforts. Such statements exhibit a predilection for collectivist principles that opponents of the estate tax have long opposed on moral grounds.[33][34]

An often overlooked element of taxation is that Americans live in a bubble ending at the border of the US. Many countries have inheritance tax rates at or near zero[citation needed]. The huge disparity between rates only encourage individuals to seek relocation to avoid or minimize taxation. This moves the wealth -and all associated future tax revenue- outside the United States. As a result of transferring wealth abroad, the 'estimated' tax generation claimed by proponents of the estate tax will likely be far less than that claimed and will likely lower the future tax base within the United States.

Previous Tax Foundation research has concluded that the estate tax acts as a strong disincentive toward entrepreneurship. A 1994 study found that the estate tax’s 55 percent rate at the time had roughly the same disincentive effect as doubling an entrepreneur’s top effective marginal income tax rate. The estate tax has also been found to impose a large compliance burden on the U.S. economy. Other past economic studies have estimated the compliance costs of the federal estate tax to be roughly equal to the amount of revenue raised—nearly five times more costly per dollar of revenue than the federal income tax—making it one of the nation’s most inefficient revenue sources.[35]

The term "death tax"

The term "death tax" is a neologism used by policy makers and critics to describe the tax in a way that conveys additional meaning. The terms "death duties" and "inheritance taxes" are also sometimes used.

On July 1, 1862, the U.S. Congress enacted a "duty or tax" with respect to certain "legacies or distributive shares arising from personal property" passing, either by will or intestacy, from deceased persons.[36] The modern U.S. estate tax was enacted on September 8, 1916 under section 201 of the Revenue Act of 1916. Section 201 used the term "estate tax."[37][38] According to Professor Michael Graetz of Columbia Law School and professor emeritus at Yale Law School, opponents of the estate tax began calling it the "death tax" in the 1940s.[39] The term "death tax" more directly refers back to the original use of "death duties" to address the fact that death itself triggers the tax or the transfer of assets on which the tax is assessed.

Many opponents of the estate tax refer to it as the "death tax" in their public discourse partly because a death must occur before any tax on the deceased's assets can be realized and also because the tax rate is determined by the value of the deceased's assets rather than the amount each inheritor receives. Neither the number of inheritors nor the size of each inheritor's portion factors into the calculations for rate of the Estate Tax.

Proponents of the tax say the term "death tax" is imprecise, and that the term has been used since the nineteenth century to refer to all the death duties applied to transfers at death: estate, inheritance, succession and otherwise.[40] This also is how the phrase "death taxes" is used in the United States' Internal Revenue Code.[41]

Political use of "death tax" as a synonym for "estate tax" was encouraged by Jack Faris of the National Federation of Independent Business[42] during the Speakership of Newt Gingrich.

Well-known Republican pollster Frank Luntz wrote that the term "death tax" "kindled voter resentment in a way that 'inheritance tax' and 'estate tax' do not".[43]

Linguist George Lakoff asserts that the term "death tax" is a deliberate and carefully calculated neologism used as a propaganda tactic to aid in efforts to repeal estate taxes. The use of "death tax" rather than "estate tax" in the wording of questions in the 2002 National Election Survey increased support for estate tax repeal by only a few percentage points.[44]

Future of tax on inheritances

Congress has passed tax laws that have made numerous, temporary changes to both the estate tax rate and the exemption amount. Since 2002, the top rate has decreased incrementally from 50%, and the exemption amount has increased incrementally from $1 million. In 2009 the rate was 45% and the exemption amount was $3.5 million. On January 1, 2010 a "one year repeal" of the tax was effectuated by a temporary, one-year-only rate of 0%. On January 1, 2011 the estate tax is scheduled to a top rate of 35% and the exemption amount is scheduled to be $5.0 million, or $10 million for married couples. (law passed in December 2010)

For 2010 property transferred from decedents will be treated as if it is transferred by gift. This means the basis of the property for calculating capital gains when the recipient eventually sells the property will be the same basis as in the hands of the decedent. This is generally called carryover basis. However most recipients will effectively get the same result they would receive under present law, because section 1022 allows the executor of an estate to allocate up to 1.3 million in basis for singles and 3 million for surviving spouses to the property of the estate. This will effectively give most recipients a tax basis in the property equal to the full market value (i.e., "step up basis").[45]

Legislation to extend raising the unified credit (beyond year 2010) of the estate tax has passed the House of Representatives. It also passed in the Senate in June, 2006. Later when the conference committee added it to a bill to increase the minimum wage, the combined bill failed to garner 60 votes to invoke cloture in the United States Senate, and it failed to pass. Congress may attempt to enact an estate tax during 2010, making it retroactive to January 1, 2010.[46] Such retroactivity is likely constitutional, as the Supreme Court has approved retroactive taxation directed against estates in the past.[47] Among the creative ideas being floated in Congress is a change in the way the estate tax is collected using Cap Gains with a transition charge based on AGI. [9][48]

Death elasticity

A few commentators have been concerned that changes in estate tax provides incentives to change the timing of death, a phenomenon termed "death elasticity." Dr. George E. Mendenhall has warned that large discontinuities in the estate tax rates, as planned in 2010 and 2011, may provide incentives to hasten death (late 2010) or prolong life (late 2009) with large financial implications for the inheritors.[49]

IRS audits

In July 2006, the IRS confirmed that it planned to cut the jobs of 157 of the agency’s 345 estate tax lawyers, plus 17 support personnel, by October 1, 2006. Kevin Brown, an IRS deputy commissioner, said that he had ordered the staff cuts because far fewer people were obliged to pay estate taxes than in the past.

Estate tax lawyers are the most productive tax law enforcement personnel at the IRS, according to Brown. For each hour they work, they find an average of $2,200 of taxes that people owe the government.[50]

Related taxes

The federal government also imposes a gift tax, assessed in a manner similar to the estate tax. One purpose is to prevent a person from avoiding paying estate tax by giving away all his or her assets before death.

There are two levels of exemption from the gift tax. First, transfers of up to (as of 2010) $13,000 per (recipient) person per year are not subject to the tax. Individuals can make gifts up to this amount to each of as many people as they wish each year. In a marriage, a couple can pool their individual gift exemptions to make gifts worth up to $26,000 per (recipient) person per year without incurring any gift tax. Second, there is a lifetime credit on total gifts until a combined total of $1,000,000 (not covered by annual exclusions) has been given.

If an individual or couple makes gifts of more than the limit, gift tax is incurred. The individual or couple has the option of paying the gift taxes that year, or to use some of the "unified credit" that would otherwise reduce the estate tax. In some situations it may be advisable to pay the tax in advance to reduce the size of the estate. Generally, clients choose not to pay a gift tax until the lifetime exemption is exceeded. Paying a gift tax for gifts in excess of the lifetime exemption can be advantageous, if the client lives at least three years, as the gift tax is tax exclusive, and the estate tax is tax inclusive. Funds used to pay the estate tax are taxed in a decedent's gross estate, but gift taxes paid more than three years prior to death are not included.

But in many instances, an estate planning strategy is to give the maximum amount possible to as many people as possible to reduce the size of the estate, the effectiveness of which depends on the lifespan of the transferor and the number of donees. Clients often choose to use a trust, sometimes referred to as a Cristofani Trust, to hold such gifts.

Furthermore, transfers (whether by bequest, gift, or inheritance) in excess of $1 million may be subject to a generation-skipping transfer tax if certain other criteria are met.

See also


  1. ^ Meet Mr. Death. Joshua Green, May 20, 2001
  2. ^ "Estate Tax", Retrieved 2011-09-29
  3. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2001(a).
  4. ^ Defined at 26 U.S.C. § 2031 and 26 U.S.C. § 2033.
  5. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2034.
  6. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2035.
  7. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2036.
  8. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2037(a)(1).
  9. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2037(a)(2).
  10. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2038.
  11. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2039.
  12. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2040.
  13. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2041.
  14. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2042.
  15. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2053.
  16. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2055.
  17. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2056.
  18. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2058.
  19. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2056(d).
  20. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 2056A.
  21. ^ Internal Revenue Code section 2010(c), as amended by section 302(a)(1) of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), Pub. L. No. ___-___, ___ Stat. ___ (Dec. 17, 2010).
  22. ^ See Title III of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), Pub. L. No. ___-___, ___ Stat. ___ (Dec. 17, 2010).
  23. ^ :Death and taxes: Inheritance taxes
  24. ^ a b "A Guide to Kentucky Inheritance and Estate Taxes: General Information". Kentucky Revenue Cabinet. March 2003. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  25. ^ Death and Taxes, Washington Post, Editorial, June 6, 2006.
  26. ^ a b c Edmund Andrews, Death Tax? Double Tax? For Most, It's No Tax, New York Times, August 14, 2005.
  27. ^ a b Stuart Taylor, Gay Marriage and the Estate Tax, The Atlantic Monthly, June 13, 2006.
  28. ^ The Estate Tax and Charitable Giving, Congressional Budget Office, July 2004.
  29. ^ "The case for death duties". The Economist. October 25, 2007. 
  30. ^ [1], [2]
  31. ^
  32. ^ A Good Year To Die by Investor's Business Daily,[3], [4]
  33. ^ A Good Year To Die by Investor's Business Daily
  34. ^ Getting more links to those taking each position should be fine.
  35. ^ "Noting that this compliance burden is largely the result of widespread tax avoidance, Aaron and Munnell conclude that estate taxes are effectively 'penalties imposed on those who neglect to plan ahead or who retain unskilled estate planners' rather than actual taxes." The Economics of Federal Estate Taxes
  36. ^ Section 111 of the Revenue Act of 1862, Ch. 119, 12 Stat. 432, 485 (July 1, 1862).
  37. ^ Revenue Act of 1916, Ch. 463, sec. 201, 39 Stat. 756, 777 (Sept. 8, 1916).
  38. ^ Darien B. Jacobson, Brian G. Raub, and Barry W. Johnson, "The Estate Tax: Ninety Years and Counting," Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Dep't of the Treasury, at [5].
  39. ^ "How We Got from Estate Tax to 'Death Tax'", National Public Radio, attrib. to Professor Michael Graetz, Dec. 15, 2010, at [6].
  40. ^ The Tax That Suits the Farmer, New York Times, May 24, 1897. ("It will escape these death taxes, even, by removal from the State or by to heirs during life instead of by testament.")
  41. ^ Politicizing the Internal Revenue Code, De Novo, May 6, 2007.
  42. ^ Capitol Hill Memo; In 2 Parties' War of Words, Shibboleths Emerge as Clear Winner, New York Times, April 27, 2001.
  43. ^ "Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes"
  44. ^ Homer Gets a Tax Cut: Inequality and Public Policy in the American Mind
  45. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 1022.
  46. ^ Estate Tax Reform Bill Passes House, Moves to Senate
  47. ^ Estate Tax Fix Not Likely By Year End
  48. ^ [7]
  49. ^ [8]
  50. ^ "I.R.S. to Cut Tax Auditors". The New York Times. July 23, 2006. 

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