Home      Login

Is a Tax on Wealth Constitutional?  

Author:  Erik M. Jensen.

Source: Volume 36, Number 03, Spring 2019 , pp.79-86(8)

Journal of Taxation of Investments

< previous article |next article > |return to table of contents


Informal proposals to enact a national wealth tax have been around for a while, but Senator Elizabeth Warren is now promoting a specific form of wealth tax: a tax on the net wealth of high-net-worth individuals. Whatever the economic and ethical merits of such a proposal, this article concludes that the tax as proposed would be unconstitutional. It would be a direct tax that, if not apportioned among the states on the basis of population, would fail to meet constitutional requirements. Furthermore, if it were apportioned, it couldn’t work in the way Senator Warren wants it to.

Keywords: wealth tax, direct tax, apportionment, indirect tax, Hylton v. United States, Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co., NFIB v. Sebelius

Affiliations:  1: Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Subscribers click here to open full text in PDF.
Non-subscribers click here to purchase this article. $22

< previous article |next article > |return to table of contents