经济学人:继承税:为向死亡征税而辩(01)

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The case for taxing death

为向死亡征税而辩

How to balance people's desire to bequeath assets with the unfairness of inheritance.

如何用继承的不公平去平衡人们对遗赠资产的欲望。

No tax is popular.

没有一种税受人待见。

But one attracts particular venom.

但是,有一种税招致特别的怨恨。

Inheritance tax is routinely seen as the least fair by Britons and Americans.

在英国人和美国人眼里,继承税通常是最缺少公平的。

This hostility spans income brackets.

这种敌意贯穿各个收入阶层。

Indeed, surveys suggest that opposition to inheritance and estate taxes (one levied on heirs and the other on legacies) is even stronger among the poor than the rich.

实际上,各种调查显示,对继承税和遗产税(前者对继承人征收,后者对遗产征收)的反对,在穷人中甚至比在富人中更为强烈。

Politicians know a vote-winner when they see one.

政客们知道怎么去赢得选票。

The estate of a dead adult American is 95% less likely to face tax now than in the 1960s.

如今,死去的成年美国人的遗产比上世纪60年代,少了95%的面对税收的可能性。

And Republicans want to go all the way: the House of Representatives has passed a tax-reform plan that would completely abolish “death taxes” by 2025.

而且共和党意欲一条道走到黑:众议院已经通过了一项税改计划,该计划会到2025年完全废除各种“死亡税”。

For a time before the second world war, Britons were more likely to pay death duties than income tax; today less than 5% of estates catch the taxman's eye.

二战前有一段时间,在死亡税和收入税之间,英国人一度更加有可能缴纳前者;如今,不足5%的遗产引起税务人员的注意。

It is not just Anglo-Saxons. Revenue from these taxes in OECD countries, as a share of total government revenue, has fallen sharply since the 1960s.

不仅英美,在经合组织国家中,来自这些税的收入作为政府总收入的占比,自上世纪60年代以来也急剧下降了。

Many other countries have gone down the same path.

许多其他国家走过了同样的道路。

In 2004 even the egalitarian Swedes decided that their inheritance tax should be abolished.

甚至主张平均主义的瑞典也在2004年决定,他们的遗产税应当被废除。

Yet this trend towards trifling or zero estate taxes ought to give pause.

然而,这种朝向微量或者零遗产税的趋势应当暂停。

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