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Back from the Grave: Revenue and Distributional Effects of Reforming the Federal Estate Tax

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Publication Date: October 2008

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Leonard E. Burman; Katherine Lim; Jeff Rohaly

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Economy; Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Income and Wealth Distribution; Tax Policy

Type: Report


In this paper we review the current wealth transfer tax rules and the changes introduced in 2001. We offer an overview of the methodology underlying the TPC's estate tax model and then use the model to estimate the number of estate tax filers, taxable returns, and the distribution of burden under current law. Finally, we investigate the revenue and distributional effects of several proposals to reform the estate tax, including those put forth by the presidential candidates.