“Death taxes” is a colloquial term often used to refer to estate taxes and inheritance taxes. These are taxes imposed by governments on the transfer of wealth from a deceased person to their heirs or beneficiaries. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have distinct characteristics:

1. **Estate Tax:**
– **Imposition:** An estate tax is levied on the total value of a deceased person’s estate.
– **Applicability:** It is typically applied at the federal level and may also be imposed by some states or jurisdictions.
– **Exemption Threshold:** There is usually an exemption threshold, meaning that estates below a certain value are exempt from the tax.
– **Rates:** Estate tax rates are progressive, meaning higher-value estates face higher tax rates.

2. **Inheritance Tax:**
– **Imposition:** An inheritance tax is imposed on the beneficiaries or heirs who receive assets from the deceased person’s estate.
– **Applicability:** Inheritance taxes are imposed by some states or countries, and not all jurisdictions have them.
– **Exemption Threshold:** Beneficiaries may have their own exemption thresholds, and the tax rates can vary based on the relationship between the deceased and the beneficiary.
– **Rates:** Like estate taxes, inheritance tax rates are often progressive.

The specific laws regarding estate and inheritance taxes can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. Tax laws are subject to change, and it’s advisable to consult with tax professionals or legal experts for the most up-to-date and accurate information based on the current laws in a specific region.

The debate over estate taxes often involves discussions about their impact on wealth distribution, economic incentives, and family businesses. Advocates argue that they help address wealth inequality and contribute to government revenue, while opponents may argue that they can lead to double taxation and negatively impact economic growth. Public opinion and policy regarding death taxes can vary, and legislative changes can occur over time.