Citizens for Tax Justice has published an article which lists the number of residents of each state who paid estate taxes between the years 2000 and 2010. In 2000, there were 662 Tennesseans who paid estate taxes. This represented 1.2% of all the Tennesseans who died during the preceding year. This number gradually decreased during the following decade until only 40 Tennesseans paid taxes in 2010. This represented 0.1% of the Tennesseans who died in 2009.
The number of Tennesseans who will pay federal estate taxes in 2011 should be even less due to the one-year repeal of estate taxes for decedents dying in 2010.
Even though the number of estates paying federal estate taxes has declined, the number of estates paying Tennessee inheritance taxes has remained constant. Tennessee has not changed its estate tax laws since the 20th century. The Tennessee inheritance tax exemption is only $1 million.
Citizens for Tax Justice advocates decreasing the estate tax exemption. It supports a proposal introduced by Congressman McDermott named “The Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011.” This proposal would reduce the federal estate tax exemption from $5 million to $1 million per person. Fortunately, noone expects this Act to be approved.