Professor Tom Stauder

Professor Tom Stauder

via the Columbia Daily Tribune

*Editor’s Note: CC Biz Buzz is a new monthly column series that will feature insightful commentary from a member of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business faculty.

This is a question I frequently get: “When I die, can my family inherit everything I own, or does the federal government take a cut first?” The answer, as in so much of tax law, is “It depends.” If you own enough stuff at the end, the IRS may indeed take a bite. This tax goes by many names. Politicians in favor of it, generally Democrats, call it the “estate tax” because it makes it sound like it only applies to wealthy people who live in baronial mansions. Opponents, generally Republicans, refer to it as the “Death Tax,” on the assumption that everyone who dies will pay it.

READ MORE: CC Biz Buzz: Is there a Death Tax?