10 Death Tax Myths


The IRS wants me to overpay on estate and inheritance taxes

Modern tax laws are complex. The labyrinth of requirements, exemption amounts and deductions can make even the simplest personal tax filing a complicated affair. It's no wonder that a large part of the accounting industry's work involves filing taxes or preparing tax documents in anticipation of future filing.

Any tax filing mistake can sting because of the amount of money involved. Adding the recent death of a loved one and concerns over inherited wealth to the mix only makes the matter more complicated and stressful. But despite the confusion and difficulty in navigating the tax code, the estate and inheritance tax processes are not inherently rigged in the IRS's favor.

Consider the amount of documentation available to taxpayers on the IRS's Web sites. These documents, with their long names and identification codes, may seem like a different language; however, they provide enough information for a knowledgeable person to complete nearly any complex tax filing. The IRS also provides brochures on specific filing procedures, including estate taxes [source: IRS]. With this information freely available to any taxpayer with computer access, it's hard to make the case that the IRS is intentionally trying to confuse or trick estate heirs.