Policy Documents

The Estate Tax: Even Worse Than Republicans Say

David Block and Scott Drenkard –
September 4, 2012

On July 25, Joint Economic Committee Republicans published a report criticizing the federal estate tax. Their report called for either a significant reform or outright repeal of the estate tax. The report, which referenced four separate Tax Foundation studies and testimonies, reached similar conclusions to those which we have reached with regard to the estate tax. But while the JEC Republican report makes strong arguments, we hope here to strengthen the case for repeal with additional evidence of compliance burdens inherent in the estate tax. Compliance costs are much more significant than is often understood, so much so that tax revenue is likely to actually increase upon repeal regardless of economic growth patterns in the coming years.

All of this analysis comes on the heels of major changes that are slated for the estate tax rate and exemption structure in 2013. It is important that legislators and taxpayers educate themselves with the economic literature on growth and compliance.