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IRS Statistics Show the "Death Tax" Is Irrelevant

By: Jim Dossey, MS, MBA, JD

Based on IRS Statistics:

  • 73,100 estate tax returns were filed in 2003; in 9400 were filed in 2012
  • The estate tax exemption amount was $1MM in 2003; in 2012, the exemption had increased to $5.2MM
  • In 2011, the IRS collected $8.9 billion from estate tax. That same year, the IRS collected over $1.045 trillion from income tax. In other words, the government collected 117 times more income tax than estate tax.

As these statistics show, the estate tax is increasingly becoming irrelevant from a revenue collection standpoint in the United States. The statistics also show just how few people the estate tax really impacts. Only 0.38% of the 2.5 million people that died in the US in 2012 filed an estate tax return.

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