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

New Study Analyzes Distribution of Taxes and Spending Together

March 23, 2007

Estimating Federal Tax Burdens for Major City Areas, Counties, and U.S. Congressional Districts

March 22, 2007

When Bad Tax Policy Meets Life-and-Death Decisions

February 1, 2007

New Study: Estate Tax Unlikely to Reduce Concentration of Wealth

September 22, 2006

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

September 22, 2006

Will Tax Competition Eliminate State-Level Estate Taxes?

September 8, 2006

Virginia Repeals Estate Tax and Increases Competitiveness

September 6, 2006

The Other Estate Tax: Growing Complexity of State-Level Estate Taxes

August 14, 2006

What’s in an Estate Tax Name?

June 27, 2006

Disturbing Questions About the Estate Tax and the Timing of Deaths

June 26, 2006

Rosen on the Estate Tax

June 8, 2006

Death and Taxes: The Economics of the Federal Estate Tax

June 2, 2006

New Report on the Federal Estate Tax

June 2, 2006

British Estate Tax Forces Guitar Sale

May 4, 2006

Do ‘Death Taxes’ Affect Economic Choices of the Living?

February 9, 2006

Death and Taxes in Canada

January 26, 2006

Betting on Death and Taxes

December 13, 2005

The Real Death Tax

September 28, 2005

Federal Estate Tax Collections

August 4, 2005

Americans Say Estate Tax Unfair, Should Be Repealed

August 1, 2005