Property Article

Equal Opportunity and Inheritance Taxation

Vol. 121 No. 2 Equality of opportunity is understood to be one of the bedrock principles supporting the taxation of inheritance. The familiar idea is that inherited wealth offers an unjustified head start for some individuals at the expense of others. In political theory, this principle is closely identified with the branch of liberalism known as resource equality. But the resource equality ideal has not been fully translated into the legal literature. The major legal writings on inheritance taxation use the term “equal opportunity” quite generally and often blend equal opportunity with goals that are distinct, like wealth equalization. This Article revisits the topic of inheritance taxation