Inheritance taxes

Our Contract Proposes:

“Reinstate inheritance taxes only on Estates of more than $5 million, and eliminate perpetual trusts to lessen the formation of a hereditary aristocracy.”

(Wealth and our Commonwealth, Gates),


“We don’t want anyone to have to sell the family homestead, farm, or small business to pay estate taxes.”  That is the spector Republicans portray, but it is not the reality.

According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% receive nothing (Kotlikoff & Gokhale, 2000).


A $5 million threshold for Estate Taxes, indexed for inflation,discourages the formation of a Hereditary Aristocracy, but still assures that  ordinary people can leave family assets to their heirs without any problem or penalty.

“The attempt by ultra-conservatives to eliminate inheritance taxes — which they always call ‘death taxes’ for P.R. reasons — would take a huge bite out of government revenues (an estimated $253 billion between 2012 and 2022) for the benefit of the heirs of the mere 0.6% of Americans whose death would lead to the payment of any estate taxes whatsoever.” (Citizens for Tax Justice, 2010b).