Thursday, September 15, 2016

What Is the Estate Tax?


A graduate of New York’s Columbia University with degrees in philosophy and physics, Michael Mundaca now serves as the codirector of the national tax department at Ernst & Young LLP. Prior to assuming this role, Michael Mundaca served as assistant secretary for tax policy in the treasury department as part of the Obama administration.

The United States government’s office of tax policy is responsible for the development and implementation of federal tax policies and programs, including policies regarding the federal estate tax.

The estate tax is a mechanism through which the government generates revenue when property is transferred to heirs after the original owner passes away. The definition of “property” may include real estate but also encompasses assets like cash, stocks, and other valuables. In general, for 2016, federal estate to be due, the total value of the property transferred be at least $5.45 million for an individual heir.

Federal estate tax receipts for 2014 equaled $19.3 billion.