Symposium Issue

The Centennial of the Estate and Gift Tax:  Perspectives and Recommendations

The approaching 100th anniversary of the estate tax is an opportune time to reexamine its role in our fiscal system. This is particularly true in light of the political maelstrom that has surrounded the estate and gift tax in the past 20 years. Throughout its history, the estate and gift tax has served several purposes. […]

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“Death Tax” Politics

Abstract: In his Keynote Address “Death Tax” Politics at the October 2, 2015 Boston College Law School and American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Symposium, The Centennial of the Estate and Gift Tax: Perspectives and Recommendations, Michael Graetz describes the fight over the repeal of the estate tax and its current diminished state. Graetz […]

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Should We Tax the Gratuitous Transfer of Wealth? An Introduction

Abstract: The estate tax was enacted because of concerns about the impact of large concentrations of dynastic wealth on the political process. As discussed in this commentary, which reviews the Symposium articles by Paul Caron, David Joulfaian, and Jennifer Bird-Pollan, recent research by political scientists supports the legitimacy of these concerns. In addition, a significant […]

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The One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Federal Estate Tax: It’s Time to Renew Our Vows

Abstract: The approaching one-hundredth anniversary of the federal estate tax is an opportune time to revisit its historical origins, its role in our government and society through the years, and its current and future place in our fiscal firmament. This Article argues that the reasons behind the enactment of the estate tax in 1916—to raise […]

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What Do We Know About the Behavioral Effects of the Estate Tax?

Abstract: Few estates are subject to the estate tax, which accounts for only a small portion of federal revenues. Even so, those whose estates may be subject to the tax tend to have access to high-quality advice and to engage in long-term tax planning. Because of this, the presence of the estate tax has a […]

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Why Tax Wealth Transfers?: A Philosophical Analysis

Abstract: The one-hundredth anniversary of the estate tax provides an ideal moment to reflect on the role of wealth transfer taxation in the larger scheme of the U.S. tax system. Wealth and income inequality are at historically high levels, and the responses to these issues are often reduced to a simplistic political dichotomy of “right” […]

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