The case for taxing death
How to balance people's desire to bequeath assets with the unfairness of inheritance.
No tax is popular.
But one attracts particular venom.
Inheritance tax is routinely seen as the least fair by Britons and Americans.
This hostility spans income brackets.
Indeed, surveys suggest that opposition to inheritance and estate taxes (one levied on heirs and the other on legacies) is even stronger among the poor than the rich.
Politicians know a vote-winner when they see one.
The estate of a dead adult American is 95% less likely to face tax now than in the 1960s.
And Republicans want to go all the way: the House of Representatives has passed a tax-reform plan that would completely abolish “death taxes” by 2025.
For a time before the second world war, Britons were more likely to pay death duties than income tax; today less than 5% of estates catch the taxman's eye.
It is not just Anglo-Saxons. Revenue from these taxes in OECD countries, as a share of total government revenue, has fallen sharply since the 1960s.
Many other countries have gone down the same path.
In 2004 even the egalitarian Swedes decided that their inheritance tax should be abolished.
Yet this trend towards trifling or zero estate taxes ought to give pause.
1.estate taxes 遗产税；不动产税
例句:The case for retaining estate taxes in Britain and America is weaker on grounds of simplicity.
2.go down 下降；平静
例句:Their aircraft went down during a training exercise.
3.inheritance tax 遗产税
例句:The group is in the process of an upheaval that some put down to an attempt by the family to reduce inheritance tax.
4.For a time 暂时；一段时间
例句:I think you ought to give football a rest for a time.