Eliminate the estate tax

"No family will have to pay the death tax."

Subjects: Taxes
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Trump reiterates intention to end the estate tax

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to eliminate the estate tax -- the tax levied on the largest inheritances. As president, Trump has now offered two tangible pieces of evidence that this proposal remains on the front burner.

First, Trump included elimination of the estate tax among the bullet points in a one-page summary of principles for his upcoming tax legislation. That document was released on April 26.

That position was included again when his administration released its fiscal 2018 budget proposal on May 23.

In both documents, he called the estate tax the "death tax" -- terminology that critics say is substantially misleading, since it suggests that everyone who dies pays it. In reality, the tax kicks in at such a high wealth threshold, and it has enough exceptions, that only the very richest Americans ever pay it.

There is no actual tax legislation yet to carry out Trump's priorities, and Congress will have to pass measures before Trump can sign them into law. Still, his moves so far are enough to shift this promise to In the Works.


White House, one-page summary of tax proposals, April 26, 2017

White House, fiscal 2018 budget proposal, May 23, 2017

Email interview with Roberton Williams, fellow at the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, May 24, 2017