NewsThe Death Duty Debate: Should We Tax Inheritance?
The Death Duty Debate: Should We Tax Inheritance?

The Death Duty Debate: Should We Tax Inheritance?

The resurrection of death duties. It may just be the will of the people!
Death duties may be back on the table partly because our kids apparently don’t expect a free handout when us parents ‘predecease’ them.
And governments may use this social development to argue for the return of 'death' and estate taxes to haunt families again.
New social research says older Australians increasingly want to spend deep into their nest eggs rather than pass any savings and super on to their children.
But what's truly surprising is that their children are happy with the situation, saying that they are not owed anything and can make their own way in life.

The University of South Australia study (see here) into present attitudes about intergenerational wealth transfer also found the public's antipathy towards inheritance taxes had declined.
It's 40 years since they were abolished, and as the only major form of untaxed income, it’s argued restoring them may be both an opportunity for tax reform and addressing social inequality.
According to Dr Veronica Coram from the university's Australian Alliance for Social Impact, it's called the decline in the bequest motive.
"We talked to young adults and senior Australians, and two-thirds of them thought Australia should consider reintroducing taxes on estates worth more than $3m, while only one in ten were definitely opposed.
"Inheritances generally go to people who are already well-off and don't need them; they encourage inequality and inhibit social mobility….Reintroducing inheritance or estate taxation is a way of increasing government revenue while reducing a key driver of inequality at the same time."
We had inheritance taxes until the 1970s when the cunning political operator Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen abolished them to attract interstate grey migrants. The federal government of Malcolm Fraser then followed suit.
So how do you feel now? Is it time to accept that social norms have shifted and it's fair for the government, as happens in many other nations, to tax inheritances?
And if this happens, is it more likely that older Australians will indeed spend deep to avoid the taxman even if it means less in their wills for the kids?


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The Death Duty Debate: Should We Tax Inheritance?

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Dorothy from NSW commented:

I agree with those who say an inheritance tax is double-dipping, and should not be allowed, let alone considered. 

Someone from SA commented:

I won't vote for a party who brings back Inheritance Tax. I've worked hard and already paid tax on the money that has bought everything I own.and my children deserve to benefit from that, not the government. The government should not double dip!!! 

David from NSW commented:

Of course it's not OK. I worked hard to set up my children and I paid tax. The only comforting thought around death is that my children will get a kick start. 

Someone from QLD commented:

NO, do not bring back tax on inheritance. I have paid taxes all my life and it is my choice who spends what money I will leave behind and it should notbe taxed again. 

Mrs Colleen
Mrs Colleen from QLD commented:

Absolutely not! A death tax would be so unfair, I left school after primary, did leaving classes at Tech while in full time work from 15. I have paid taxes all my life and have never applied for a penny or cent of Govt. money in my life. Neither have my children, now businessmen with exceptional work ethics and all responsible, kind and caring impressive gentlemen. 

John from QLD commented:

Let me ponder this question, hmmmm... lets try NO! 

Jeanette from NSW commented:

I object to the death duty tax being imposed again. I have six children and many grandchildren. My children are not particularly well off , but they have always been there for us, when we have needed them. We have tried to save our money , just so we can help them , when the time comes. The Govt has raised the retirement age and so those who were ABLE to purchase a house, and still haven't managed to pay it off, will be paying for many years still. We want to be able to leave them enough to pay off their home so if their health declines, they won't HAVE to work so hard. For those who were not fortunate enough to buy a home, it may help them to get a start. We HAVE paid tax on our savings! It is not fair that we need to pay again! 

Jeffery from NSW commented:

NO NO NO. Only socialists would go for this. 

Someone from VIC commented:

No we shouldn't tax inheritance, as those who have passed on have already paid their taxes on their hard earned money, so those who receive an inheritance should't have to pay tax on it again. The Government is double dipping. 

Kathleen from QLD commented:

NO!! Many of us older folk are struggling with the computer age technology that we didn't learn at school and this is governments trying once again to interfere in our lives and try to control our basic ljving rights as Australians. If people have worked hard all their lives, they deserve to make their own decisions as to how they distribute their final inheritance 

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