estate tax


Definition of estate tax

: a tax in the form of a percentage of the taxable estate that is imposed on a property owner's right to transfer the property to others after his or her death — compare inheritance tax sense 1

Examples of estate tax in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a new revenue forecast issued Wednesday, state economists said estate tax collections are running considerably above expectations. oregonlive, "Super wealthy dead people to help trim Oregon’s PERS deficit," 12 Feb. 2020 Under the guiding hand of then-House Speaker Thom Tillis, now one of the state’s two U.S. senators, North Carolina dropped its estate tax for wealthy heirs and more than halved the corporate tax rate. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Decade When Republicans Stole the States," 24 Dec. 2019 And the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption has climbed to $11.58 million per individual, a $118,000 increase from 2019. Chris Morris, Fortune, "The 2020 Tax Brackets Are Out. What Is Your Rate?," 7 Nov. 2019 Comerica has made and will continue to make all required estate tax payments in accordance with applicable law. Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard, "Prince's Sister Sharon Nelson Accuses Comerica Bank of Mismanaging Estate: 'He Is Not Resting in Peace' (Exclusive)," 24 Apr. 2019 With Mitnick in charge, Spahr hatched the strategies that minimized both gift and estate taxes on the transfer of Fred’s wealth to Donald and his siblings. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "Meet the Shadowy Accountants Who Do Trump’s Taxes and Help Him Seem Richer Than He Is," 8 May 2020 Both candidates would also end a provision that reduces taxes for the heirs of very wealthy Americans who are subject to the estate tax upon death. New York Times, "How Democrats Would Raise Taxes on the Rich," 11 Mar. 2020 What’s more, the lifetime exemption from gift and estate taxes increases to $11.58 million... Glenn Ruffenach, WSJ, "How (and Whether) to Give Heirs Their Inheritance Before You Die," 8 Mar. 2020 Senate Bill 1560 would bump up the size of exemptions from Oregon’s estate tax. oregonlive, "Super wealthy dead people to help trim Oregon’s PERS deficit," 12 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'estate tax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of estate tax

1928, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for estate tax

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The first known use of estate tax was in 1928

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Statistics for estate tax

Last Updated

13 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Estate tax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for estate tax

estate tax


Financial Definition of estate tax

What It Is

An estate tax is levied on assets inherited by the heirs to a deceased person's estate.

How It Works

The estate tax is applied differently according to U.S. Federal and state laws as well as international law. Typically, estate taxes are only levied once a certain threshold, known as the exclusion limit, has been reached.

Estate taxes are not applicable if a person bequeaths (transfers) the assets from the estate to a living spouse. This type of transfer is known as the unlimited marital deduction. However, in the event that the spouse dies, the beneficiaries may be required to pay estate taxes if the exclusion limit is exceeded.

[InvestingAnswers Featured Article: A Simple Plan to Avoid Estate Taxes]

Why It Matters

Estate taxes, like other taxes on unearned incomes, are a source of revenue for governments that use it to finance various projects. The issue of the estate tax has become highly politicized, and it is sometimes referred to as the "death tax" by people who oppose it.

But estate taxes are not inevitable. In the U.S., there are many different estate planning techniques that individuals can use to reduce the size of their taxable estates.

[InvestingAnswers Tutorial: Reduce Your Federal Estate Tax With These 4 Powerful Estate Planning Tools]

Source: Investing Answers

estate tax


English Language Learners Definition of estate tax

: a tax that you pay on the money and other property that comes to you because someone has died : a tax on an estate that you inherit

estate tax


Legal Definition of estate tax

: an excise in the form of a percentage of the taxable estate that is imposed on a property owner's right to transfer the property to others after his or her death

called also succession tax

— see also unified transfer tax — compare gift tax, inheritance tax

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for estate tax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with estate tax Encyclopedia article about estate tax

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