to as the death tax
, to make it sound like people are taxed
just for dying
Upon death, a person's estate must be valued. If it's under $625,000, there is no tax. This covers most people.
Anything over $625,000 is subject to taxes at a rate of 37%.
Anything over $3 million is subject to taxes at a rate of 55%.
This tax has been a favorite of the republicans to talk about repealing recently - and for them, it will be a big political win. After all, the ones benefitting from the repeal of this tax are those who are already wealthy, and likely to donate some of it back to the party.
Of course, such a tax is often in the best interest of the public, as the gradual accumulation of wealth by the few and powerful is a well-known phenomenon, and this tax was there to try and help prevent it. Well, it's pretty clear that it hasn't worked in that manner, since we've still got plenty of insanely rich people.
Of course, the greatest problem is that the tax often hurts the people right on the edge, with just enough money to qualify for the tax, but not enough to pay it off without selling some of what they own. It does nothing to reduce the fortunes amassed by the ultra-rich. There are exemptions for small businesses and farms - in fact, at one point, some reporters for a newspaper tried to find someone who lost their farm because of the Estate Tax, as many republicans had claimed happened. They were unable to find anyone at all.
This tax only affects 2% of people. Polls have shown that either lack of knowledge, or deliberate misinformation, has affected a lot of people, with an additional 17% or so thinking it would affect them when it didn't.
The opponents of this tax have made it clear that they must get it removed permanently BEFORE the amount increases to $1 million - else it can, and quickly will, be referred to as the "millionaire tax". Language makes all the difference - people opposed to something called the "death tax" will not necessarily oppose something called the "millionaire tax", regardless of the fact it's the same thing!