DEFINITION of 'Death Taxes'
Taxes imposed by the federal and/or state government on someone's estate upon their death. These taxes are levied on the beneficiary that receives the property in the deceased's will; the tax amount is based on the property's value at the time of the owner's death. Also called death duties or inheritance tax.
BREAKING DOWN 'Death Taxes'
The term was first coined in the 1990s to describe estate and inheritance taxes by those who want such taxes eliminated.