Estate tax: the bottom line | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Estate tax: the bottom line

Posted By on Sat, Jun 10, 2006 at 10:06 AM

Floyd Norris' column in NY Times today is available to subscribers only, unfortunately. But it summarizes as well as anything I've seen the facts that put the lie to Blanche Lincoln's alibi that her advocacy for the estate tax repeal is about helping the little guy.

Most recent data available, for 2004 indicates:

A very few, very rich estates pay most of the estate tax burden. It is a very progressive tax, in other words. Poor people don't pay. Middle-class people don't pay. Only wealthy people pay.

Double taxation? Nah. About two-thirds of the assets of the biggest estates ($20 million or more) were in real estate and stock -- appreciated capital assets, in other words, and thus not previously taxed, as wages are.

Confiscatory rates? Not really, after deductions for spouses and charity.

In 2004, only 736 tax returns were filed for estates worth $20 million or more. Only 520 of them owed estate taxes, but these 520 paid a quarter of all estate taxes for the year, about $5.6 billion. The top marginal rate is 55 percent, sure, but the average tax for this group was only 19 percent.

A bill Blanche Lincoln supported last week would have cut the tax rate on those 520 richest estates by a third, a nifty savings of $1.8 billion. A huge chunk of it would be a gift to people like Walton children who toiled not for their riches but inherited appreciated stock granted essentially free to their parents.



Comments (42)

Showing 1-42 of 42

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-42 of 42

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…


Most Viewed

  • Marijuana makes Harding University grad a billionaire

    Meet a new Arkansas-native billionaire — Michael Blue, who grew up in Searcy and graduated from Harding University. He owes his wealth to marijuana.
  • French Hill carefully vetting crowd for Mike Pence visit

    Mike Pence will appear at a campaign rally for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill today in Little Rock and the campaign is monitoring carefully who'll be allowed to attend or cover the event. Hill is running a hide-and-seek campaign, making himself available only in safe settings. Maybe 1,200 of the right sort of people will atternd.
  • Are the Razorbacks out of their league?

    Ouch. The Southeastern Conference football schedule hasn't yet begun and the New York Times offers an article suggesting the Arkansas Razorbacks aren't up to playing in the league.
  • Demonstrators, small crowd greet Mike Pence at French Hill rally

    Demonstrators have been allowed near the front door of the Statehouse Convention Center where carefully screened guests, not many, will be enjoying Mike Pence's endorsement of Republican Rep. French Hill. Plenty of security and I think it might be more fun outside.
  • Six Supreme Court justices found to have violated ethics code

    The Arkansas Judicial and Disability Commission has announced the filing of formal charges of ethics violations against six members of the Arkansas Supreme Court for their handling of a case involving Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation