$44.94

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Ford attempts to strike up a conversation with his old buddy Hotblack Desiato, a member of the biggest, loudest, richest band ever. He fails because Hotblack is spending a year dead for tax purposes.

Next week, the federal estate tax is scheduled to rise to 55%. The exemption from that tax is scheduled to drop to $1 million. That in mind, it looks like folks may well try part of Hotblack’s tax evasion strategy. Alas, human preservation and medical resurrection have yet to be perfected.

I can’t think of a tax less moral or less justifiable than the estate tax. Even if I could, I wouldn’t admit it because it might give someone ideas.

4 comments

  1. Well clearly, but is it a flat tax of total worth if you were to liquidate all of their assets or staggered like with income tax or is stock/land taxed differently than money hidden under the couch?

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  2. The short version:

    Total worth at death – certain deductions = Taxable estate. There’s an exemption for the first $X of your taxable estate. Then a progressive tax is applied to everything over the first $X. There are loopholes and other complications that make it possible to lessen the bite of the tax.

    Money hidden under the couch would be taxed differently (i.e., not at all) because the feds wouldn’t know about it, right?

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