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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Len from NSW commented:

Do not support death duties - governments of all persuasions should stop wasting taxpayers money and we would all be better off. 

June from NSW commented:

Definitely not in favour. I’ve paid taxes every year for a very long working life and would not want my estate to be taxed again. We are already a high tax paying country. Hands off my kids inheritance. 

Someone from NSW commented:

No way! Thieving bastards! They tell us the money goes to fund various good causes like gov't benefits, but most goes in to lining their own pockets! WE earned our money and assets, WE paid taxes on money earned, WE pay GST, Stamp Duty, etc, other taxes on items we buy. NO WAY they should steal any more! 

Joseph from NSW commented:

Who did you survey. The socialist parties in Australia. And if young people agreed to this then there is no hope for Australia. 

Someone from WA commented:

No not at all as that money was taxed when earned and it shouldn’t be taxed again.Parents should be able to do what they want with their money. 

Michael from NSW commented:

No Way. I'm totally against it. I have worked many years to own what little I have and have already paid enough taxes. My wife and I have gone without many things in life to have what little we have today. We have the right to do whatever we wish with our hard earned and well saved money. We have already paid tax on the money or assets we have accumulated so how is it fair that we should pay tax again on it when we die. Many families and their kids are not as fortunate to be rich or well off. In fact many are struggling and can't afford to buy their own homes in this day and age. Instead I think the government should encourage and support families that leave their inheritance for their kids so that they wont have to apply for welfare support and be a burden on the government and tax payers. 

Someone from NSW commented:

Who on earth would think this is ok? Any inheritance has already incurred tax that was paid. Some inheritance assists loved one who are not financially well off and if they are they can then help the next generation. Alternatively, bequests can go to financial charities if family will not need or benefit. 

Someone from NSW commented:

No way. I do not agree with the introduction of Inheritance Tax. We have been paying taxes the whole live. Assess don't come because one is lucky. My children will be not lucky either. The whole family worked for greeting a normal to normal plus retirement without the government financial support. I want for my children better opportunities that I had in the past; it is my right, my choice to pass onto our children without tax "punishment". 

Colleen from NSW commented:

No, I do not agree with the introduction of Inheritance Tax. This hard earned money has already been taxed to the hilt whilst in our possession, hard earned and saved by us for the purpose of when we are no longer here, inheriting it to our children so they can reap the benefit of perhaps paying out their mortgages, etc. It is almost a sure thing that our children, while earning a lot more than we ever did in our youth, will be hard pressed in paying their debts because , not only the effects of COVID 19, but the enormous cost of buying and maintaining a home in these times. We lay awake sometimes wondering how our children and their children will ever manage a decent way of life in the future. CH 

Someone from VIC commented:

We paid taxes on our money always followed the rules,and want our family to get our money when we pass,we do not think our money should be double tax 

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