The objective of this paper is two-fold. First, we describe and compare the gift and bequest (estate) tax systems in the United States and Japan. Second, we use tax data to estimate the magnitude of intergenerational transfers. The magnitude of intergenerational transfers provides aid in determining how much outstanding wealth is obtained through intergenerational transfers, an issue of current controversy. In both Japan and the United States, a substantial portion of wealth, and especially of land in Japan, is bequeathed from one generation to the next.
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