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

When Bad Tax Policy Meets Life-and-Death Decisions

New Study: Estate Tax Unlikely to Reduce Concentration of Wealth

The Other Estate Tax Payers: Non-Resident Aliens in the U.S.

Death and Taxes: The Economics of the Federal Estate Tax

Death and Taxes in Canada

The Real Death Tax

Americans Say Estate Tax Unfair, Should Be Repealed

Would Repealing the Estate Tax Really Hurt Tax Collections?

States and Estate Taxes

Is the Estate Tax a (Revenue) Loser?

The Gift and Estate Tax and Economic Performance

An Analysis of the Disincentive Effects of the Estate Tax on Entrepreneurship

A History and Overview of Estate Taxes in the United States

Tax Review: Impact of Federal Estate and Gift Taxes

Tax Review: Estate and Gift Tax Revision

Tax Review: Revising Estate Taxation