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

Twelve Steps toward a Simpler, Pro-Growth Tax Code

October 30, 2013

China Flirts with an Estate Tax

October 3, 2013

Same-Sex Marriages Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes – What Does it Mean for the States?

August 29, 2013

Links: Gas Tax Increases, Effective Corporate Tax Rates, and the Estate Tax

July 2, 2013

Pennsylvania’s Family Business Death Tax on Life Support

June 27, 2013

North Carolina House Tax Plan Passes Second Reading

June 7, 2013

North Carolina Considers Impressive Tax Reform Options

June 7, 2013

Indiana Approves Income Tax Reduction

May 14, 2013

Weekly Map: Inheritance and Estate Tax Rates and Exemptions

May 2, 2013

Inheritance Tax Rates and Exemptions, 2012-2013

May 1, 2013

Tax Policy and the Defense of Marriage Act

March 26, 2013

New Paper on Estate Tax Misses the Mark

January 15, 2013

Measuring the Economic and Distributional Effects of the Final Fiscal Cliff Bill

January 2, 2013

Modeling the Economic and Distributional Effects of the Senate Tax Bill

January 1, 2013

25 States May Revive Estate Tax If No Fiscal Cliff Deal Reached

December 27, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff was Created Two Years Ago Today

December 17, 2012

Raising Revenue: The Least Worst Options

December 5, 2012

Diving Off the Fiscal Cliff: An Economy on the Rocks

November 27, 2012

A Quick Guide to the Obama and Romney Tax Plans

October 18, 2012

Simulating the Economic Effects of Romney’s Tax Plan

October 3, 2012