Congress passes what develops into an Estate Tax: A duty/tax on certain "legacies or distributive shares arising from personal property" passing, either by will or intestacy, from deceased persons.”
This was part of the tax structure implemented by Lincoln to cover the cost of the Civil War. (Ironic observation: a tax passed that will tax the transfer of assets when a person dies …. during the war that killed more Americans than any other war.)
The modern estate tax was passed Sept 8, 1916.
The term “death tax” was coined in the 1940s, which is a term that relates back to the original use of the term “death duties”. A political pollster wrote that “the term ‘death tax’ kindled voter resentment in a way that 'inheritance tax' and 'estate tax' do not".
According to the New York Times (in 2006), “Estate tax lawyers are the most productive tax law enforcement personnel at the IRS… For each hour they work, they find an average of $2,200 of taxes that people owe the government.”