Research Papers

The following are research papers on the estate tax written by SOI analysts. The papers are available in Adobe PDF format, which requires the free Adobe Acrobat reader to view and print these files.


Factors in Estates' Utilization of Special Tax Provisions for Family-Owned Farms and Closely Held Businesses PDF
Authors: Martha Eller Gangi, Kimberly Henry, and Brian G. Raub
  Statistics of Income, IRS
This paper presents a brief description of three business provisions available under Federal estate tax law to the estates of 2001 decedents, and presents logistic regression models that examine the relationship between usage of one provision and other estate characteristics.
Issued 4/2007.


Creativity and Compromise: Constructing a Panel of Income and Estate Tax Data for Wealthy Individuals PDF
Authors: Barry W. Johnson and Lisa M. Schreiber
  Statistics of Income, IRS
Panel data consisting of income reported by wealthy taxpayers provide important opportunities to study the ways in which income changes over time. When paired with wealth data from Federal estate tax returns, the resulting data set provides a rare opportunity to learn more about the relationship of wealth to realized income, which is an important consideration in many public policy debates, and about changes in income that occur as people near the ends of their lives.
Issued 4/2007.


The Mismeasurement of Man's Well-Being: Refining Realized Income Measures with Wealth, Portfolio, and Mortality Information PDF
Authors: Barry W. Johnson                   Jenny Wahl
  Statistics of Income, IRS      Carleton College
Economists and policymakers often rely on realized income to gauge individual well-being. Attractive for its ease of calculation, this measure is nonetheless seriously flawed, in part because people have some ability to choose how much income to realize at a given time.
Issued 3/2005.


The Effect of Content Errors on Bias and Nonsampling Variance in Estimates Derived From Samples of Administrative Records PDF
Authors: Barry W. Johnson and Darien B. Jacobson
  Statistics of Income, IRS
This paper examines quality review data from Federal estate tax returns selected into the Calendar Year 2002 SOI Estate Tax Study to determine the effects of non-sampling error on estimates derived from the final data file.
Issued 1/2005.


Using Auxiliary Information to Adjust for Non-Response in Weighting a Linked Sample of Administrative Records PDF
Authors: Barry W. Johnson
  Statistics of Income, IRS
This paper documents the history and development of the estate multiplier technique, a statistical methodology for estimating the wealth of a living population using data reported on returns filed for wealthy decedents, with an emphasis on recent methodological improvements.
Issued 3/2003.


Federal Taxation of Inheritance and Wealth Transfers PDF
Authors: Barry W. Johnson and Martha Britton Eller
  Statistics of Income, IRS
This paper provides a broad overview of the Federal Estate tax with an emphasis on the tax law applicable to 1998 decedents. Includes extensive data on the demographic and financial characteristics of 1998 decedents.
Issued 3/2001.


Beyond Andrew Carnegie: Using a Linked Sample of Federal Income and Estate Tax Returns to Examine the Effects of Bequests on Beneficiary Behavior PDF
Authors: Jacob Mikow and Darien Berkowitz
  Statistics of Income, IRS
This paper uses data on estate beneficiaries as reported on Federal estate tax returns, linked to data for income tax returns, to examine the effects of an inheritance on a beneficiary’s workforce participation and income.
Issued 2/2001.


Using a Sample of Federal Estate Tax Returns to Examine the Effects of Audit Revaluation on Pre-Audit Estimates PDF
Authors: Martha Britton Eller and Barry W. Johnson
  Statistics of Income, IRS
This paper discusses the results of SOI’s first audit study of Federal estate tax returns. For filing year 1992, IRS estate tax attorneys examined 19.2 percent of the return population, and net estate tax liability increased by 5.5 percent as a result of audits.
Issued 3/2000.


SOI Tax Stats - Estate Tax Statistics