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Update: Emily's death tax woes

I'm updating this story because it generated a lot of questions and a lot of interest. I still don't know all the details, of course, but Emily's tax liability is at the state level, not federal. It turns out that the state of New Jersey levies an inheritance tax of its own (why am I not surprised?) that lacks the exemptions of the federal system.

The estate consists almost entirely of the woman's modest, $550,000 home. And for those of you in normal parts of the country, the word "modest" is not a typo, and I was not being ironic. Still, Emily is incurring a $35,000 tax liability that is due in a month although she's still unable to close on the house.

This is why I think inheritance taxes are so pernicious. Most other taxes are triggered by willful actions on the part of the taxed -- you go out and earn a paycheck, you get taxed; you sell stock, you get taxed; you buy stuff, you get taxed.

Fine. But Emily did nothing. She was sitting around, minding her on business, when all this crap she never asked for was dumped in her lap. That's a bummer.


I agree. That seems outrageous. The system needs a more reasonable approach to things, especially to situations.

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