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A Brief Overview of Inheritance Tax

A Brief Overview of Inheritance Tax

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A Brief Overview of Inheritance Tax
The inheritance tax is imposed on the value of property an individual inherits.Each state that imposes the inheritance tax, does so at different rates. In addition, the inheritance tax may be levied against some individuals, while not being imposed against others. For example, some states may allow spouses or children, to inherit money and property, free from the inheritance tax.  There are also states that do not impose the inheritance tax at all.
Background:


The inheritance tax has been imposed by specific states for years. However, many states have altered their policy on inheritance and estate taxes. For example, some states allowed their inheritance and estate taxes to lapse when the Federal estate tax lapsed in 2010. Although the federal estate tax is set to take effect again in 2011, some states may chose to leave the estate tax off the books. There are many debates associated with the inheritance tax and the estate tax. 
Many people claim that the tax is unfair because the money being inherited, has already been taxed as income. In addition, it is argued that the tax discourages entrepreneurship and hard work because benefactors believe that the government will get a lot of the money saved through years of handwork. Conversely, many argue that the estate and inheritance tax is fair because it taxes the rich and does not allow individuals to live off of the benefits of the handwork of others. In fact, many people say that inheritance tends to make people lazy, thereby discouraging them to work hard or lean towards anything entrepreneurial. 
State Variations:


Each state, as a separate tax jurisdiction, has the ability to levy taxes. In fact, each state can levy the inheritance tax at rates individually determined by that tax jurisdiction. The inheritance tax has historically been levied on the state level, against inheritance valued above a certain threshold. In addition, the inheritance tax may not be imposed against spouses, or descendants of the benefactor. Currently, the Federal estate tax and inheritance taxes have lapsed. As a result, some tax jurisdictions have begun to reconsider their position on the inheritance and estate tax. 
In some cases, the states are waiting to see how the Federal government responds next year. As it stands now, the Federal government is suppose to be reverting pack to tax rates that were imposed a decade ago, which were higher than they were last year. There are also some states that have decided to begin imposing the tax, to lower the state's deficit. As states look to increase revenue, it seems more likely to states will consider taxes like the inheritance tax, even when they did not impose them in the pat. 
Difference Between Inheritance and Estate Tax:gross estate value of an estate on the day that the benefactor passes away. The value of the estate may change significantly before any beneficiaries actually inherit from the estate, but those changes will not be applied to the gross estate value. The value of the gross estate is only altered by allowable deductions. 
Those deductions include the expenses for the benefactors funeral and any money utilized to administer and distribute the estate. In addition, any debt, such as mortgages, must be paid before inheritance can be dispersed. The amount of money paid for that debt, is subtracted from the gross estate value before estate taxes are imposed. The inheritance tax is applied after the beneficiaries actually take possession of those items left to them by the benefactor.

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