Over the last decade there has been a steep decline in estates owing estate taxes to the federal government. Only 0.6 % of those who died in the USA in 2008 owed any estate tax.
Because of the increase of the filing threshold, the number of estates that needed to pay taxes dropped from 108,000 in 2001 to less than 34,000 in 2009. Of these estates filing returns in 2001 only 51,700 paid a tax. In 2009, the figure dropped to 14,700 of the 34,000 returns filed.