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January 2012 Archives

Estate Tax - In the Beginning

It has been called an inheritance tax, a transfer tax and a wealth tax. However, the estate tax, as it is presently called, has been part of world history dating back to Egypt in 700 B.C. and to the Roman Empire, nearly 2,000 years ago, where the Emperor Caesar Augustus imposed the Vicesina Hereditatatium. The estate tax has been a part of our country's culture and laws since almost the beginning. The first federal "estate" tax was passed by the 5th Congress in 1797 to pay for a naval build-up in anticipation of a possible war with France. It was then called "An Act Laying Duties on Stamped Vellum, Parchment, and Paper" and required payment of 25 cents on distributions by will or estates of between $50 and $100, 50 cents on the next $500, and $1 on each additional $500. When a treaty with France was signed to avoid the war, the tax was repealed in 1802.

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