People like the myth of the ‘self-made’ man or woman. Donald Trump, for example, appeals to his followers as an ordinary guy who built his business empire with only a “small loan” of one million dollars from his father. The truth, however, is that Trump received upwards of $400 million from Fred Trump over his lifetime. The point being: it’s much easier to make money if you start rich.

Wealthy people have inbuilt advantages over the less prosperous: they can afford better education and healthcare, they have easier access to capital if they want to start a business, they have greater opportunities and better life chances. Most people are comfortable about wealth disparities in society, as long as the game feels fair (i.e. they accept unequal outcomes as long as there are equal opportunities).

What do ours readers think? We had a comment from Kimmo, who argues that inheritance tax is a form of double taxation because the income has already been taxed at the point it was first earned. Why should it be taxed again?

We also had a comment from Duncan, who said that when a wealthy person inherits money they can invest it into making them (and their children) even more advantaged, meaning that inequality perpetuates. Is this a problem?

To get a reaction, we put Kimmo and Duncan’s comments to Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, a Danish MEP who sits with the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament and is Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters. You can see her responses in the video above.

Are inheritance taxes unfair? Does it represent a form of double taxation? Or is inheritance tax an effective way to reduce inequality? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStock – JacobLund
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.



6 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Obviously, the EU is trying to “harmonies” national tax laws & grab more national competencies.

    What is the EU’s competence in the area of inheritance taxation?

    Slovakia seems the kindest to people with honest and hard-earned assets- not counting their dog, cat or canary.

    “Member States are free to design their rules in the area of inheritance tax as they wish.

    However, in the first place, they must apply those rules in accordance with EU rules. This means that they cannot discriminate on the basis of nationality or apply unjustified restrictions to the exercise of the freedoms guaranteed by EU rules.”

    https://www.academia.edu/31034964/Uniform_European_Inheritance_Law_Myth_Dream_or_Reality_of_the_Future

    Many voters have nothing to leave behind anyways- no problem- no tax headache!

    Other folks will visit a legal tax advisor and/or set up a will. That is small on small!

    Please EU, go after the long list of known BIG illegal tax evasions & close tax havens! That is Big on Big!

    Don’t harass the small guys.

  2. avatar
    Claudio

    In the Western world, wealth is handed down from father to son for generations. We live in an increasingly unequal society and – as Piketty argues – we need to raise the inheritance tax to reduce inequalities.

  3. avatar
    Крис

    Yeah, the ,,self-made” men like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk who happen to come from wealthy families and never ever lived in poverty even for a day 🤷‍♂️

  4. avatar
    Paulo

    Good or bad, isn’t it the only solution?

  5. avatar
    Andrea

    sure let the government keep even more of people’s hard earned cash.
    Government should remove obstacles to people’s success not punish successful ones.
    Shame to you.
    Life is unfair deal with it.

  6. avatar
    JT HK

    Inheritance tax can be avoided with similarly the transfer of ownership. It is better to impose taxes focusing on excessive assets of billionaires and count huge annual bonus enterprises delivered to senior management as profit, etc.

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