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Estate Tax Campaign
The estate tax is a tax on the transfer of property at the time of death. It has been a constructive part of our tax structure since 1916. The federal estate tax reduces the massive concentration of inherited wealth passed down from generation to generation. It provides billions in revenue to fund our government and helps to maintain a robust nonprofit sector by encouraging charitable donations.
Only the richest 0.27 percent of our nation's families will ever pay the federal estate tax at all. In 2011, the estate tax is owed only on estates larger than $5 million for an individual, and $10 million for a couple.
Under President George W. Bush, Congress gradually weakened the estate tax. The Bush Tax Cuts increased the amount exempted from the tax and reduced the rate. The federal estate tax was repealed entirely in 2010.
In 2011, President Obama's tax deal reinstated the estate tax but at a rate significantly lower than the pre-Bush tax cut levels. In 2000, the estate tax was owed on estates over $1 million exemption threshold — $2 million for married couples — with a top rate of 55 percent. In 2011 and 2012, the exemption is $5 million, or $10 million for married couples, at a 35 percent rate.
UFE's Estate Tax Campaign is calling on Congress to stop enriching the inheritors of wealthy millionaires and billionaires by reinstating a robust estate tax. The billions of dollars in state and federal revenues lost by a weakened estate tax contributed to the budget crisis we find ourselves in today. As a result, state and federal governments are forced to make difficult decisions; such as increasing taxes on those less able to pay or by cutting Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, and many other government programs so important to our nation's continued well-being.