Tags: 50m | death-tax | dc | mystery

$50M in Death Tax From DC's Mystery Benefactor Helps Keep Capital in Black

By    |   Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 11:23 AM

It's the $50 million capital mystery. An unknown — and deceased — resident of Washington, D.C., who forked over $50 million last year, helped double the district's estate tax revenues, a whopping $53 million more than projected.

The district's CFO, David Umansky, had projected just $50 million in estate tax collection, but collected $5.54 million more than that in June alone. By Umansky's final tally, the district raked in $92 million in estate taxes for the 2012 fiscal year. In large part, this bolstered its $417 million surplus for 2012.

And still, the contributor of the $50M is unknown to the public, because current laws don't allow specific tax information to be released.

"It would be a very unusual estate that would be paying $50 million to the district for state estate tax," lawyer Michael F. Curtin told the Washington Post. He said such a huge payout would be hard to imagine, because usually people with wealth of that size have programs in place to avoid paying that kind of huge tax rate.

The Post contacted Curtin when trying to discern the identity of the mystery donor. He handled the estate of Evelyn Nef, a wealthy arts patron who died in 2009. He assured the post it was not Nef's payout.

As Mike DeBonis at the Post pointed out, some reverse engineering can lead super sleuths to the donor. Because the district's estate tax is 16 percent, the deceased taxpayer would have had a taxable estate of more than $300 million. Curtin also told the Post that estate taxes are due 10 months after the death of the estate holder.

A few other names have been floated in the Washington Business Journal, but none coincided with either fortunes large enough or geographies specific enough to the tax.

D.C. is one of the few jurisdictions, along with 16 states, that still collect an estate tax, also known as an inheritance tax, at a local level.

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It's the $50 million capital mystery. An unknown — and deceased — resident of Washington, D.C., who forked over $50 million last year, helped double the district's estate tax revenues, a whopping $53 million more than projected.
50m,death-tax,dc,mystery
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2013-23-31
Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 11:23 AM
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