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.

Related Articles

The Estate Tax is Double Taxation

Modeling the Estate Tax Proposals of 2016

Tax Freedom Day 2016 is April 24

The Benefits of Neutral Tax Treatment of Saving and Consumption

Swiss Reject Proposed Federal Inheritance Tax

Let’s Eliminate the Tax Code’s Bias Against Saving with Universal Savings Accounts

Happy Tax Freedom Day!

How the Government Spends Your Tax Dollars

Taxes Are Not Handouts

The Estate Tax Provides Less than One Percent of Federal Revenue

Estate and Inheritance Taxes around the World

Proposed Tax Changes in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

The President Proposes a Second Tax on Estates

The Basics of President Obama’s State of the Union Tax Plan

Market Volatility Alone Can Cause Inequality

The Estate Tax is a Poor Source for Federal Revenue

Some Charts for Tax Day

Four Things to Look for in Chairman Camp’s Tax Reform Plan

Michael Jackson’s Estate: the IRS Won’t Stop Til It Gets Enough

Federal Estate and Gift Tax Rates, Exemptions, and Exclusions, 1916-2014