DEFINITION of 'Wealth Tax'

It is a tax based on the market value of assets that are owned. These assets include, but are not limited to, cash, bank deposits, shares, fixed assets, private cars, assessed value of real property, pension plans, money funds, owner occupied housing and trusts. An ad valorem tax on real estate and an intangible tax on financial assets are both examples of a wealth tax. Although many developed countries choose to tax wealth, the United States has generally favored taxing income.

BREAKING DOWN 'Wealth Tax'

Wealth tax is imposed on the wealth possessed by individuals in a country. The tax is on a person's net worth which is assets minus liabilities. Not all countries have this type of tax; Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Finland, Iceland and Luxenberg have abolished it in recent years. The United States doesn't impose wealth tax but requires income and property taxes.

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