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

Prepared Testimony for the Connecticut Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue, and Bonding

April 10, 2019

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

January 31, 2019

Enhancing Tax Competitiveness in Connecticut

July 31, 2018

Does Your State Have an Estate or Inheritance Tax?

April 5, 2018

Trends in State Tax Policy, 2018

December 14, 2017

The House Takes a Big Step Forward on Tax Reform

November 16, 2017


Related Articles

Tracking the 2020 Presidential Tax Plans

November 20, 2019

Illustrating Senator Warren’s Taxes on Capital Income

November 15, 2019

UK Taxes: Potential for Growth

October 17, 2019

Does Your State Have an Estate or Inheritance Tax?

October 16, 2019

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

September 27, 2019

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

July 1, 2019

Minnesota Considers $1.35 Billion Biennial Tax Increase

April 23, 2019

Prepared Testimony for the Connecticut Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue, and Bonding

April 10, 2019

The Trade-offs of Repealing Step-Up in Basis

March 13, 2019

The Composition of Federal Revenue Has Changed Over Time

February 28, 2019

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

January 31, 2019

New IRS Data Reiterates Shortcomings of the Estate Tax

October 18, 2018

What are Universal Savings Accounts and Why Are They Important?

September 11, 2018

Enhancing Tax Competitiveness in Connecticut

July 31, 2018

D.C. Proposes Sales Tax Increase, Other Tax Changes

May 16, 2018

Does Your State Have an Estate or Inheritance Tax?

April 5, 2018

State Tax Changes That Took Effect on January 1, 2018

January 2, 2018

Trends in State Tax Policy, 2018

December 14, 2017

Responding to a Critique of the Taxes and Growth Model

December 4, 2017

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

December 2, 2017