The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Inheritance Taxes

  • Joseph A. Pechman
Reference work entry


Taxes on property left by individuals to their heirs are among the oldest forms of taxation. In societies in which property is privately owned, the state protects the property rights of the individual and supervises the transfer from one generation to the next. Consequently, the state has always regarded property transfers as appropriate objects of taxation. However, taxes on bequests and gifts raise very little revenue in modern tax systems.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph A. Pechman
    • 1
  1. 1.