Lowenstein & Kisska-Schulze on the Constitutionality of the Estate Tax

Henry Lowenstein, Ph.d. and Kathryn Kisska-Schulze (Coastal Carolina University and Clemson University College of Business) have posted A Historical Examination of the Constitutionality of the Federal Estate Tax (William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2018) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: During the 2016 presidential debate, Hillary Clinton vowed to raise the estate (death) tax to 65%, while Donald Trump pledged to abolish it as part of his overall tax reform proposal. An interesting question resonates as to whether the tax is even constitutional. This paper takes a fresh look at the Estate Tax, appropriate in an era of a U.S. Supreme Court consisting of a majority of adherents to a more “strict constructionist” view of constitutional interpretation. Although historically regarded by the U.S. Supreme Court as being a constitutional excise tax, it can be theorized that the estate tax is an unconstitutional overreach of taxing power by the…

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