Due primarily to increases in the applicable exclusion amount, the number of estate tax returns filed decreased from more than 108,000 in 2001 to just over 15,000 in 2010.
After accounting for marital and charitable bequests, as well expenses and debts of the estate, less than half of the estates filing in 2010 owed estate tax. This was before the applicable exclusion amount jumped to $5 million and became indexed for inflation.
It is estimated that in 2012 perhaps fewer than 4,000 estate tax returns were filed for taxable estates.
With the increased applicable exclusion amount, less than 0.2% of Americans are expected to be subject to the federal estate tax.
According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive between $50,000 to $100,000.