Skip to comments.Pennsylvania's Inheritance Tax ... it's illogical, unconstitutional and should be abolished
Posted on 04/03/2002 5:28:07 AM PST by DukieEdited on 04/13/2004 2:02:28 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
click here to read article
My least favorite taxes are those that have the word 'tax' as part of their name. ;-)
Hi Dukie! This statement from joanie-f (already posted elsewhere -- hope you don't mind the reprise) nails the single most egregious thing about inheritance taxation in the above italics, IMHO. Yet hardly anybody ever questions this. Somehow or other, we are conditioned to believe that the idea of social engineering in the name of (somebody's strange idea of) "social justice" is just a dandy thing. At least, we don't bother to object.
But think about it!!! In the first place, what is the basis of the assumption that to run wealth through the hands of politicians serves "social justice" any better than to leave that wealth in private hands -- subject to private decision making and market forces? An heir could invest his inheritance profitably, creating economic opportunities for others beyond himself -- jobs. Or he could squander his inheritance altogether -- which has the same effect.
What I want to know is: Who really owns the inherited property? The decedent's estate? The heir? or the government? The surest test of title is who has the power of conversion of the underlying property. If the government -- federal or state -- can force the conversion -- i.e., the sale -- of property to satisfy a tax lien -- and can set the rate of tax unilaterally, and impose it unequally -- then doesn't the government effectively own it? I mean, they might let you keep a bit of what you thought was yours. Well isn't that nice.
Then you've got to wonder -- where is the constitutional authority for the government to treat people differently? I thought we were a system of equal justice under law, not a system of equal results determined by a rule of men. The government has absolutely zero constitutional warrant/authority to be in the so-called "social justice" business, which necessarily involves discriminating among citizens and classifying them into groups, for the purpose of advantaging some and disadvantaging others. But the government cannot legitimately be in the business of picking winners and losers, and trying to deliver certain outcomes. It's in the "means business," not the "ends business."
Glad to encourage folks who see inheritance taxation as the nightmare it really is -- constitutionally, economically -- especially when they do it as well as you have done. Why a free people puts up with this sort of thing is beyond my understanding. All my best, bb.
I believe one can refuse to admit the property assessor on such grounds, but then if one appeals the valuation, the only way to get your appeal heard may be to submit to such inspection.
As regards to inspections related to the exchange of real estate, since borrowed money is usually involved, the lender may make them a requirement for the mortgage. However between two willing parties and particularly without 3rd party government ( FHA, etc. ) financing, it seems the governments have no legitimate role in placing conditions on the sale.
shethink, what do 'youthink' of this ?
I don't mean to be harping on you at all, it's just the system that I'm frustrated with. I have a real problem with judges who make up the law as it feels convenient to them.
Why, it's because we're a "democracy", so it must be OK! The ulimate wolf in sheep's clothing.
mountaineer, you don't have any hospitals that I would go to either in your state.
Good article Dukie, thanks.
Knowing you rub shoulders with the powerful, perhaps you'll ask them when we can expect action to rescind this travesty.
I copied the article and will bring it up with George Gekas when I have coffie with him tomorrow or Friday. We BS a lot. The other day we were discussing the high increase in gas. Sure enough, he is making waves on the subject today.
Also, I'll see Santorums aid next week and again will bring it up. This sounds like something some politician should want to put their teeth into.
On line 13 - fittingly enough - of the inheritance tax form, the bureaucrats responsible for collections even give you the opportunity to make "governmental bequests" which reduce the base on which the tax is calculated. Makes one long for a return to the good old days of tar and feathers.
But my point is that when the executive branch is carrying out acts of legislation - such as tax inspection - it may not violate the "unreasonable search" standard, as the founders intended it to mean.
Chris and I both lost our beloved Dads within a couple of weeks time at the end of last year. And we were both designated executors of our Dads' estates. We not only compared notes regarding the loss of the two men who were the greatest influences in our lives, but we also compared notes as to how the state of Pennsylvania profits through its unconstitutional (both state and federal) inheritance tax.
Chris's article in the Trib-Review really encapsulates the obscenity known as the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, in that the tax defies the uniformity on the same class of subjects clause of the PA Constitution. The tax also smacks of social engineering in that its historical foundation is an attempt to move concentrations of wealth in future generations so as to create, through government dictate, more economic parity. The fourth and fifth amendments to the US Constitution are also assaulted through this tax, since provisions in it come very close to (if not define) unreasonable search and seizure, and the requirement to self-incrimination.
Chris hits all bases in his article. It would be nice if some of our state legislators would read it, and take it to heart. They need not wait for the courts to declare the tax unconstitutional (not that such a logical step is even in the works). A simple repeal is in order. But, being the realists that we are, Chris and I are not holding our mutual breaths awaiting that particular turn of events....yet he is being about as pro-active in this regard as a citizen of the commonwealth can be, having done much research into the subject, and written so eloquently regarding his findings.
Our local group here in the western part of the state convened last night for its' monthly meeting and this article was a starting point for several discussions concerning failures of elected officials - both executives and legislators - to make matters of constitutionality the essential prerequisite of every exercise of the power with which they are entrusted. The reason of course lies in human nature, that the scope of power tends to increase and stray ever further from its moorings until checked and contained by the grantors of its authority.
As you and so many eloquent posters here on FR have written, education is the key to a popular restoration of government faithful to constitutional principles. Given the woeful public "education" in which many of our countrymen have been schooled, a brilliant suggestion was advanced that in order to reach those we sometimes disparage as "sheep", we undertake creating a primer along the lines of the famous black & yellow volumes to be entitled "Liberty for Dummies." Much like the apostles proclaiming the Gospel, engaging fellow citizens in thoughtful discussions on the topics of liberty is the key in trnsforming that docile flock into rams.
I always look forward to your inspiring posts and comments.
As we saw in the questions surrounding the matter of trunk searches during traffic stops, the issue of reasonable versus unreasonable becomes a matter for the judiciary. We have to be vigilant in the protection of rights.
I don't know if I can quite accept that. I know they've claimed that power for themselves, just as they've claimed lots of powers for themselves. But I've always understood "unreasonable" in this case to simply mean arbitrary searches and seizures that would be illegal for any private citizen to commit against his neighbor. I put not my trust in the judiciary to "modify" it any further than that.
I agree with the "vigilant" part, though.