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Estate Tax Reform—A Third Option

C. Eugene Steuerle

Published: July 18, 2005
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The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

© TAX ANALYSTS. Reprinted with permission.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).


Several pressures are combining to force lawmakers to seek a more permanent resolution to the estate tax issue. This article suggests a possible compromise that would enhance the ability of wealthy individuals to avoid paying tax to government and still pass on significant assets to their heirs — but only if they make substantial contributions to charity. The compromise is not perfect, but it gives some heed to arguments on both sides of this debate — limiting the government’s access to the assets of those who die with a great deal of wealth while still recognizing their simultaneous obligation to the society that made those accruals possible.


Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).