With the enactment of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, Congress has for the third time since 1976 altered the estate tax treatment of joint tenancy property. The Federal estate tax is levied on the economic value of all property transferred from the taxable estate to the surviving spouse and heirs. Regardless of the actual value transferred by the right of survivorship, prior law often caused the full value of joint tenancy property to be taxed in the estate of the first joint tenant to die.^ Congress has, with each recent revision of the tax law, attempted to make a more equitable determination of the value transferred by the joint tenancy right of survivorship.
Wagner, Jeff and Boehlje, Michael, "The Consequences Of Joint Tenancy Ownership Of Property" (1983). Economic Staff Paper Series. 50.