Center for Federal Tax Policy

Estate and Gift Taxes

The federal government taxes transfers of wealth in three ways: through the estate tax, the gift tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax. Together these taxes make up the federal transfer tax system. In addition, many U.S. states impose estate taxes.

Estate taxes and generation-skipping transfer taxes are paid on the contents of estates or proceeds of trusts, while transfers of wealth between living persons are subject to gift taxes. The federal government enacted the first estate tax in 1916. Studies routinely find that estate taxes discourage entrepreneurship and lead to large tax compliance costs.


Featured Research

Joe Biden’s 61 Percent Tax on Wealth

April 29, 2021

Options for Reforming America’s Tax Code 2.0

April 19, 2021

Potential Regulatory Changes in Tax Policy Under the Biden Administration

November 24, 2020

Details and Analysis of President Joe Biden’s Campaign Tax Plan

October 22, 2020

Tracking the 2020 Presidential Tax Plans

October 21, 2020

Where Does Kamala Harris Stand on Tax Policy?

August 12, 2020


Related Articles

Joint Committee on Taxation Data Shows Federal Tax System Is Progressive

Taxing Unrealized Capital Gains at Death Is Unlikely to Raise Revenue Advertised

Joe Biden’s 61 Percent Tax on Wealth

Options for Reforming America’s Tax Code 2.0

Navigating the 2020 Tax Extenders in the Pandemic Economy

Potential Regulatory Changes in Tax Policy Under the Biden Administration

Details and Analysis of President Joe Biden’s Campaign Tax Plan

Tracking the 2020 Presidential Tax Plans

Where Does Kamala Harris Stand on Tax Policy?

Illustrating Senator Warren’s Taxes on Capital Income

Booker’s Plan to Eliminate Step-up in Basis and Expand the Estate Tax

Unpacking Biden’s Tax Plan for Capital Gains

Senator Van Hollen Introduces Proposal to Raise Taxes on High-Income Households

The Trade-offs of Repealing Step-Up in Basis

The Composition of Federal Revenue Has Changed Over Time

Sanders’ Estate Tax Plan Won’t Likely Raise the Revenue Intended

New IRS Data Reiterates Shortcomings of the Estate Tax

Responding to a Critique of the Taxes and Growth Model

Important Differences Between the House and Senate Tax Reform Bills Heading into Conference

The House Takes a Big Step Forward on Tax Reform