Drawing on Evatt's new report The Wealth of the Nation, Frank Stilwell has suggested that an inheritance tax could be applied on wealth valued at over $2 million, which he estimates would only affect about 5 per cent of Australian households.
Emeritus Professor in Political Economy at Sydney University and Vice President of the Evatt Foundation, Stilwell was speaking on Channel Seven's Weekend Sunrise program in the wake of the Australian visit by the French 'rockstar' economist, Thomas Piketty. During his visit, Piketty repeatedly expressed his astonishment over the anomalous absence of an Australian inheritance tax, whereas other countries such as the United States and those in Europe tax inheritance at between 40 and 45 per cent.
As well as exempting 95 per cent of households, Stilwell said that such a tax would not normally apply to family farms and businesses. An inheritance tax would reduce the presssure on the vast majority of Australians, could assist young people get into the property market, and put a brake on the intergenerational perpetuation of extreme inequality. The program also featured Bill Gates, who has decided not to leave his $90 billion fortune to his children, with their support.