The Shrinking Estate Tax
New estimates prepared by the Tax Policy Center show just how few Americans are subject to the federal estate tax. Observes the center:
In 2009, less than one-quarter of one percent of deaths—just 5,500 decedents—will leave taxable estates, the smallest percentage since at least the Great Depression. In part, that tiny fraction reflects the current recession’s devastation of assets—the Fed estimates that the total value of household and nonprofit assets fell by about one-sixth between 2007 and the first quarter of 2009. But changes in estate tax rules over the past decade have played a much larger role than economic swings.