|An aspect of fiscal policy|
An inheritance tax is a tax paid by a person who inherits money or property of a person who has died, whereas an estate tax is a levy on the estate (money and property) of a person who has died.
International tax law distinguishes between an estate tax and an inheritance tax—an estate tax is assessed on the assets of the deceased, while an inheritance tax is assessed on the legacies received by the estate's beneficiaries. However, this distinction is not always observed; for example, the UK's "inheritance tax" is a tax on the assets of the deceased, and strictly speaking is therefore an estate tax.
For historical reasons, the term death duty is still used colloquially (though not legally) in the UK and some Commonwealth countries.
Some jurisdictions formerly had estate or inheritance taxes, but have abolished them:
Some jurisdictions have never levied any form of tax in the event of death:
Inheritance tax was introduced with effect from 18 March 1986.
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Succession duty, in the English fiscal system, is "a tax placed on the gratuitous acquisition of property which passes on the death of any person, by means of a transfer from one person (called the predecessor) to another person (called the successor)". In order properly to understand the present state of the English law it is necessary to describe briefly the state of affairs prior to the Finance Act 1894 — an act which effected a considerable change in the duties payable and in the mode of assessment of those duties.
The Succession Duty Act 1853 was the principal act that first imposed a succession duty in England. By that act a duty varying from 1% to 10% according to the degree of consanguinity between the predecessor and successor was imposed upon every succession which was defined as "every past or future disposition of property by reason whereof any person has or shall become beneficially entitled to any property, or the income thereof, upon the death of any person dying after the time appointed for the commencement of this act, either immediately or after any interval, either certainly or contingently, and either originally or by way of substitutive limitation and every devolution by law of any beneficial interest in property, or the income thereof, upon the death of any person dying after the time appointed for the commencement of this act to any other person in possession or expectancy". The property which is liable to pay the duty is in realty or leasehold estate in the UK and personalty—not subject to legacy duty—which the beneficiary claims by virtue of English, Scottish, or Irish law. Personalty in England bequeathed by a person domiciled abroad is not subject to succession duty. Successions of a husband or a wife, successions where the principal value is under £100, and individual successions under £20, are exempt from duty. Leasehold property and personalty directed to be converted into real estate are liable to succession, not to legacy duty.
Special provision is made for the collection of duty in the cases of joint tenants and where the successor is also the predecessor. The duty is a first charge on property, but if the property be parted with before the duty is paid the liability of the successor is transferred to the alienee. It is, therefore, usual in requisitions on title before conveyance, to demand for the protection of the purchaser the production of receipts for succession duty, as such receipts are an effectual protection notwithstanding any suppression or misstatement in the account on the footing of which the duty was assessed or any insufficiency of such assessment. The duty is by this act directed to be assessed as follows: on personal property, if the successor takes a limited estate, the duty is assessed on the principal value of the annuity or yearly income estimated according to the period during which he is entitled to receive the annuity or yearly income, and the duty is payable in four yearly installments free from interest. If the successor takes absolutely he pays in a lump-sum duty on the principal value. On real property the duty is payable in eight half-yearly installments without interest on the capital value of an annuity equal to the annual value of the property. Various minor changes were made. The Customs and Inland Revenue Act 1881 exempted personal estates under 300. The Customs and Inland Revenue Act 1888 charged an additional 1% on successions already paying 1% and an additional 11% on successions paying more than 1%. By the Customs and Inland Revenue Act 1889, an additional duty of 1% called an "estate duty" was payable on successions over 10,000.
The Finance Acts 1894 and 1909 effected large changes in the duties payable on death. As regards the succession duties they enacted that payment of the estate duties thereby created should include payment of the additional duties mentioned above. Estates under £1,000 (£2,000 in the case of widow or child of deceased) are exempted from payment of any succession duties. The succession duty payable under the Succession Duty Act 1853 was in all cases to be calculated according to the principal value of the property, i.e., its selling value, and though still payable by installments interest at 3% is chargeable. The additional succession duties are still payable in cases where the estate duty is not charged, but such cases are of small importance and in practice are not as a rule charged.
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The United States imposed a succession duty by the War Revenue Act of 1898 on all legacies or distributive shares of personal property exceeding $10,000 (worth $308,902 in 2020 dollars [ citation needed ] This statute was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.[ citation needed ]). This was a tax on the privilege of succession, and devises and land distributions of land were unaffected. The duty ran from 75 cents on the $100 to $5 on the $100, if the legacy or share in question did not exceed $25,000. On those over that value, the rate was multiplied 11 times on estates up to $100,000, twofold on those from $100,000 to $200,000, 21 times on those from $500,000 to a $1 million, and threefold for those exceeding a million.
Many of the states also impose succession duties, or transfer taxes; generally, however, on collateral and remote successions; sometimes progressive, according to the amount of the succession. The state duties generally touch real estate successions as well as those to personal property. If a citizen of state A owns registered bonds of a corporation chartered by state B, which he has put for safe keeping in a deposit vault in state C, his estate may thus have to pay four succession taxes, one to state A, to which he belongs and which, by legal fiction, is the seat of all his personal property; one to state B, for permitting the transfer of the bonds to the legatees on the books of the corporation; one to state C, for allowing them to be removed from the deposit vault for that purpose; and one to the United States.
The different U.S. states all have other regulations regarding inheritance tax:
Some U.S. states impose inheritance or estate taxes (see inheritance tax at the state level):
In some jurisdictions, when assets are transferred by inheritance, any unrealized increase in asset value is subject to capital gains tax, payable immediately. This is the case in Canada, which has no inheritance tax.
When a jurisdiction has both capital gains tax and inheritance tax, inheritances are generally exempt from capital gains tax.
In some jurisdictions, like Austria, death gives rise to the local equivalent of gift tax . This was the UK model before the Inheritance Tax in 1986 was introduced, when estates were charged to a form of gift tax called Capital Transfer Tax. Where a jurisdiction has both gift tax and inheritance tax, it is usual to exempt inheritances from gift tax. Also, it is common for inheritance taxes to share some features of gift taxes, by taxing some transfers which happen during the lifetime of the giver rather than on death. The UK, for example, subjects "lifetime chargeable transfers" (usually gifts to trusts) to inheritance tax.
No inheritance tax was recorded for the Roman Republic, despite abundant evidence for testamentary law. The vicesima hereditatium ("twentieth of inheritance") was levied by Rome's first emperor, Augustus, in the last decade of his reign.The 5% tax applied only to inheritances received through a will, and close relatives were exempt from paying it, including the deceased's grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and siblings. The question of whether a spouse was exempt was complicated—from the late Republic on, husbands and wives kept their own property scrupulously separate, since a Roman woman remained part of her birth family and not under the legal control of her husband. Roman social values on marital devotion probably exempted a spouse. Estates below a certain value were also exempt from the tax, according to one source, but other evidence indicates that this was only the case in the early years of Trajan's reign.
Tax revenues went into a fund to pay military retirement benefits ( aerarium militare ), along with those from a new sales tax ( centesima rerum venalium ), a 1% tax on goods sold at auction.The inheritance tax is extensively documented in sources pertaining to Roman law, inscriptions, and papyri. It was one of three major indirect taxes levied on Roman citizens in the provinces of the Empire.
A trust is a three-party fiduciary relationship in which the first party, the trustor or settlor, transfers ("settles") a property upon the second party for the benefit of the third party, the beneficiary.
A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator) wishes as to how their property (estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which person (executor) is to manage the property until its final distribution. For the distribution (devolution) of property not determined by a will, see inheritance and intestacy.
Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies without having in force a valid will or other binding declaration. Alternatively this may also apply where a will or declaration has been made, but only applies to part of the estate; the remaining estate forms the "intestate estate". Intestacy law, also referred to as the law of descent and distribution, refers to the body of law that determines who is entitled to the property from the estate under the rules of inheritance.
In common law and statutory law, a life estate is the ownership of land for the duration of a person's life. In legal terms, it is an estate in real property that ends at death when ownership of the property may revert to the original owner, or it may pass to another person. The owner of a life estate is called a "life tenant".
Taxation in the United Kingdom may involve payments to at least three different levels of government: central government, devolved governments and local government. Central government revenues come primarily from income tax, National Insurance contributions, value added tax, corporation tax and fuel duty. Local government revenues come primarily from grants from central government funds, business rates in England, Council Tax and increasingly from fees and charges such as those for on-street parking. In the fiscal year 2014–15, total government revenue was forecast to be £648 billion, or 37.7 per cent of GDP, with net taxes and National Insurance contributions standing at £606 billion.
Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the state of residence [or real property] of the deceased at time of death in the absence of a legal will.
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life, in the event the person becomes incapacitated and after death. The planning includes the bequest of assets to heirs and may include minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and taxes. Estate planning includes planning for incapacity as well as a process of reducing or eliminating uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximizing the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. The ultimate goal of estate planning can only be determined by the specific goals of the estate owner and may be as simple or complex as the owner's whishes and needs directs. Guardians are often designated for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity.
A transfer tax is a tax on the passing of title to property from one person to another.
Taxation in the Republic of Ireland in 2017 came from Personal Income taxes, and Consumption taxes, being VAT and Excise and Customs duties. Corporation taxes represents most of the balance, but Ireland's Corporate Tax System (CT) is a central part of Ireland's economic model. Ireland summarises its taxation policy using the OECD's Hierarchy of Taxes pyramid, which emphasises high corporate tax rates as the most harmful types of taxes where economic growth is the objective. The balance of Ireland's taxes are Property taxes and Capital taxes.
In the United Kingdom, Inheritance Tax is a transfer tax. It was introduced with effect from 18 March 1986, replacing Capital Transfer Tax.
An express trust is a trust created "in express terms, and usually in writing, as distinguished from one inferred by the law from the conduct or dealings of the parties." Property is transferred by a person to a transferee, who holds the property for the benefit of one or more persons, called beneficiaries. The trustee may distribute the property, or the income from that property, to the beneficiaries. Express trusts are frequently used in common law jurisdictions as methods of wealth preservation or enhancement.
The U.S. generation-skipping transfer tax imposes a tax on both outright gifts and transfers in trust to or for the benefit of unrelated persons who are more than 37.5 years younger than the donor or to related persons more than one generation younger than the donor, such as grandchildren. These people are known as "skip persons." In most cases where a trust is involved, the GST tax will be imposed only if the transfer avoids incurring a gift or estate tax at each generation level.
Taxation in the British Virgin Islands is relatively simple by comparative standards; photocopies of all of the tax laws of the British Virgin Islands would together amount to about 200 pages of paper. Taxation in the British Virgin Islands is mostly notable for what is not subject to taxation. The British Virgin Islands has:
The Nil-Rate Band is a term defined and used within the tax legislation of the United Kingdom and which establishes the threshold below which some or all of the value of a gift, a death estate or assets held within a trust is subject to a zero rate of Inheritance Tax in the United Kingdom on an occasion of charge to Inheritance Tax. An occasion of charge to Inheritance Tax may not only be the death of an individual, but may also the date of a gift or of another act causing a transfer of value to occur from one person to another person, trust or entity.
The estate tax in the United States is a tax on the transfer of the estate of a deceased person. The tax applies to property that is transferred via a will or according to state laws of intestacy. Other transfers that are subject to the tax can include those made through an intestate estate or trust, or the payment of certain life insurance benefits or financial account sums to beneficiaries. The estate tax is one part of the Unified Gift and Estate Tax system in the United States. The other part of the system, the gift tax, applies to transfers of property during a person's life.
Taxes in Germany are levied by the federal government, the states (Länder) as well as the municipalities (Städte/Gemeinden). Many direct and indirect taxes exist in Germany; income tax and VAT are the most significant.
Taxation may involve payments to a minimum of two different levels of government: central government through SARS or to local government. Prior to 2001 the South African tax system was "source-based", wherein income is taxed in the country where it originates. Since January 2001, the tax system was changed to "residence-based" wherein taxpayers residing in South Africa are taxed on their income irrespective of its source. Non residents are only subject to domestic taxes.
The South African law of succession prescribes the rules which determine the devolution of a person's estate after his death, and all matters incidental thereto. It identifies the beneficiaries who are entitled to succeed to the deceased's estate, and the extent of the benefits they are to receive, and determines the different rights and duties that persons may have in a deceased's estate. It forms part of private law.
The history of inheritance taxes in the United Kingdom has undergone significant change and mutation since their original introduction in 1694.
Inheritance and gift taxes in Canada have a complex history dating back to Canadian Confederation. They are beginning to see a return to prominence in the provincial sphere.