Rather than assume the current estate tax as a starting point, he writes, “What if we start from a different premise: The way married couples hold their money is no more the government’s business than how they hold each other.”
After outlining his idea, which involves a check-the-box feature on IRS Form 1040 for a person to check when his or her spouse dies, Johnston issued a challenge to Tax Notes readers:
“Critique this proposal in terms of how to make the law as simple as possible. Even if you favor eliminating the tax, take a hand at trying to figure out how to make compliance with a continuing estate tax as simple as possible.”
If, he writes, readers can agree on ways to simplify the estate tax, two good things may happen: “First, Congress just might enact a simpler estate tax. Second, a lot of informed and bright minds could start working on how to do the same for the rest of the tax code.”
Read Johnston’s column.
About Tax Analysts
Tax Analysts is an influential provider of tax news and analysis for the global community. Over 150,000 tax professionals in law and accounting firms, corporations, and government agencies rely on Tax Analysts' federal, state, and international content daily. Key products include Tax Notes, Tax Notes Today, State Tax Notes, State Tax Today, Tax Notes International, and Worldwide Tax Daily. Founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization, Tax Analysts has the industry's largest tax-dedicated correspondent staff, with more than 250 domestic and international correspondents. For more information, visit our home page.