[ NTA logo ]

Sharing the Wealth: How to Tax the Rich

Jane G. Gravelle


This paper considers methods for taxing the income of the affluent. Much of this income is unrealized capital gains that escapes tax. Conventional individual income tax changes cannot capture this income and corporate taxes cannot target the wealthy. Other options are estate and gift taxes, taxation of gains on an accrual basis, and a wealth tax. Accrual taxation of capital gains most closely captures untaxed income, can be targeted to the wealthy, and appears to be feasible. If wealth and accrual taxation are deemed too difficult, a combination of conventional changes and taxing gains at death are options.


Jane G. Gravelle (2020), Sharing the Wealth: How to Tax the Rich , National Tax Journal, 73:4, pp. 951-968

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2020.4.01