Monday, March 25, 2013

Do Estate Taxes Face Extinction?

Despite concern over wealth inequality, estate taxation may be on the way out. See Is the Estate Tax Doomed?
For much of history, it was easier for a government to record the value of an estate than to track income on an annual basis. The lesson is clear: estate taxation first arose because it was easy, not because of concerns about inequality.
The Times op-ed drew plenty of comments. This one comes from Alice Clark in Winnetka:
The inheritance tax predates capitalism. The Romans used it. Some of my ancestors were serfs, tied to the land in Lower Saxony. At the death of the male head of household, the nobleman who owned my ancestors received one half of all of their property. I'm sure that they hid what they could, but it's hard to hide cows.

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