Amdt14.S1. Inheritance Taxes

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

There is no denial of equal protection in prescribing different treatment for lineal relations, collateral kindred and unrelated persons, or in increasing the proportionate burden of the tax progressively as the amount of the benefit increases.1 A tax on life estates where the remainder passes to lineal heirs is valid despite the exemption of life estates where the remainder passes to collateral heirs.2 There is no arbitrary classification in taxing the transmission of property to a brother or sister, while exempting that to a son-in-law or daughter-in-law.3 Vested and contingent remainders may be treated differently.4 The exemption of property bequeathed to charitable or educational institutions may be limited to those within the state.5 In computing the tax collectible from a nonresident decedent’s property within the state, a state may apply the pertinent rates to the whole estate wherever located and take that proportion thereof which the property within the state bears to the total; the fact that a greater tax may result than would be assessed on an equal amount of property if owned by a resident, does not invalidate the result.6

Magoun v. Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, 170 U.S. 283, 288, 300 (1898). back
Billings v. Illinois, 188 U.S. 97 (1903). back
Campbell v. California, 200 U.S. 87 (1906). back
Salomon v. State Tax Comm’n, 278 U.S. 484 (1929). back
Board of Educ. v. Illinois, 203 U.S. 553 (1906). back
Maxwell v. Bugbee, 250 U.S. 525 (1919). back