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Readers Respond: Should the Federal Estate Tax Be Repealed?

Responses: 125


Some form of a federal "death tax" has been in existence since 1916. In 2001 the Bush administration enacted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, or EGTRRA, which led to a gradual increase in the federal estate tax exemption, a gradual decrease in the estate tax rate, and complete repeal of the federal estate tax effective January 1, 2010. Since EGTRRA there has been much debate over the pros and cons of the estate tax, and Congress intervened at the end of 2010 and reinstated the tax for 2010, 2011 and 2012, and again in 2013, when the estate laws were made permanent. Regardless, everything in Washington is permanent, until it is changed. So what do you think about the federal estate tax - should it be permanently repealed?
Share Your Opinion

Estate Planning

How does one play a chess game when the rules change willy-nilly?
—Guest cyborg1939


Warren Buffet is a big hypocrite. He and Bill Gates have a massive estate tax plan and their estates will not pay estate taxes, believe it. Also, Warren Buffet owns large chunks of life insurance companies and selling life insurance to Irrevocable Trusts (which is not subject to the estate tax) is the bread and butter of these insurance companies. So of course Warren Buffet wants to keep the estate tax. Now you know why Warren Buffet likes the estate tax and why he is nothing more than a cheap hypocrite. Again, his estate will pay zero estate taxes! ----------------------------------------------------- Amen: Buffett speaks as a Liberal Democrat and protects his estate fully--- not as a liberal at all. Hypocrisy in action. His father would be upset with the ESTATE TAX. And touting for protection the IRREVERSIBLE LIFE INSURANCE trusts were a financial hardship for many.
—Guest cyborg1939

It matters, but it doesn't

Rather than yes or no, maybe it doesn't matter - either the rich set up foundations to help the public or their children spend it all and it returns to the public anyway.
—Guest GuavaJams

Federal Estate Tax Is Right and Just

I believe it was Bill Gates who put it best when he said that the Federal Estate Tax is fair because those who made millions did so due to the American system and the American people and therefore millionaires owe something back to the society that made it possible to amass such great wealth. I agree with this position and can see the logic and fairness of his statement.
—Guest Billy

An estate tax is an absolute necessity

No one has ever lost a family farm to the estate tax, and there is an unlimited marital deduction to protect spouses. And children can be generously provided for. An estate tax is necessary to prevent the formation of a permanent monied aristocracy. Descendants who inherit great fortunes inevitably come to believe that they are better than anyone else and somehow "deserve" wealth that they never worked for and was handed to them and do everything they can to prevent others from reaching their level. Andrew Carnegie was one of the richest men of the 19th century, and used his wealth to endow universities, libraries and other civic institutions so that others might have a chance to rise as high as he had. He left practically nothing to his own children. And the nation is better, and stronger, because of Carnegie's sense of civic obligation. A fair estate tax is essential to the preservation of a democracy.


fed. estate taxes should be repealed and states taxes also should be repealed
—Guest allen stephens


Families have worked all there lives to create some form of wealth and support for their growing families and have paid taxes on most of this growth. This success should be allowed to pass to the remaining family with out taxing by a government who is totally out of control in most area's. The Buffett, Gates, Ellison, and similar extraordinarily wealthy people will pay no estate taxes as they set up their foundations on a tax free basis to distribute their wealth and they have so much wealth they can gift millions to each family member paying the necessary gift taxes. This would not change if the estate tax was repealed but would give the moderately wealthy families the ability to retain what they earned in there lifetime. It would allow small business, small farms and other small successful enterprises the ability to continue ownership without having to sell to meet estate taxation expense .
—Guest Bill.

Nothing new

There is nothing new. You work your butt off. Save some money. Build a business. Own a home. Pay everything off. Then instead of your loved ones benefiting when you die, the government takes more than half. Crooked politicians have taken care of themselves and their families. Inept politicians play politics. The very wealthy have all the liquid money off shore. That is legal passed by crooked politicians who get paid off, and so called honest politicians who get paid off by lobbyists. Farmers can just jump off a bridge. The rest of our survivors, well too damn bad, your daddy and mommy worked for us because we said so. Tax, tax and more tax, even on money that was already taxed. Repeal the "death" tax. We pay enough when we're alive and our estates should go to our loved ones, period.
—Guest otsy

Of course!

After faithfully paying taxes on earnings throughout a lifetime, how can we justify Taking 55% more of those hard earned dollars Upon death? At a 55% estate tax rate, This would mean that of a dollar earned, $.65 after-tax net income would become $.29!!! That dollar earned would end up being 29cents (or even less for people in higher tax brackets) after income and estate tax! For a lifetime of hard work, 71%+ goes to the us government??? To be mismanaged, wasted, and redistributed?
—Guest Meredith

Estate tax

We all work our entire lives to be able to retire and leave something for our kids when we are gone and then have the goverment take half of what we already paid taxes on is absolutely stealing from us. What's the since in trying to build your net worth when the crooks will take it from you!
—Guest John Kearney

What is fair?

Large estates result from successful businesses, investments or farming operations and all require capital to continue. So how big should the tax levee on capital be when an owner dies? Any levy large enough to force sale of the asset is too large a levee. Perhaps the way to fix this is to make governments accept a debt or equity interest in the asset that can only be liquidated on cash sale of the asset, and an interest that is discharged in bankruptcy if that occurs.
—Guest JT Vermont

Keep the 2012 plan

How is it fair that my father's farmland will be taxed at a 55% rate in 2013? Is the government ignorant of the price of land in today's market? Our farm family will be unable to save even half of our land. We need this land to continue farming. Why work 7 day weeks all your life, so you can give over half your land to the government?!!!
—Guest nurse boynton

Government Incompetence

The sad part of this story is that we won't know what the rules are until it's too late. For everyone trying to manage their estate in 2012, it's been a frustrating waiting game. The difference in tax for a person with a $5 million estate in a state that kicks in additional estate taxes is over half of everything you own....or maybe nothing. Now everyone in Congress is off for the holidays with nothing accomplished.
—Guest Jay


I take a step back and try to look at the total picture and envision what this means to our country. I keep coming up with the same answers. There may be individuals in the Republican party who can stand up to their peer group. However, as a majority they care about only one thing, their pocketbooks. Without a middle class our democracy turns to a socialistic form of government. At the the very least, they should have spared the middle class from the fiscal cliff as Obama requested. They used the middle class as a focal point in their campaign in order to win. Now they could care less. Estates are often composed of income property where an enormous amount of money is given to state and federal income taxes yearly. Estate present limits should stay the same and have the tax rate reduced. Let the owners of the estate leave some money to their heirs not just to state and local governments. Raise the tax rate on incomes over $284,000. Then, maybe our democracy can survive.
—Guest Gail Lawler


Yes, it's December 20 and the information is correct!
—Guest Julie Ann Garber, Esq.

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Should the Federal Estate Tax Be Repealed?

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