“The U.S. stands on the precipice of a financial disaster, and Congress has done nothing but bicker.”
Any research paper that starts that way is bound to be fit reading for a summer day and for that we can thank Adam Chodorow of Arizona State University, who has released “Death and Taxes and Zombies.”
Up to now, he notes, the only thing certain in life are death and taxes. but what happens in the Zombie Apocalypse when only taxes are certain?
Chodorow says a non-permanent death will have to change the way the government is funded.
For example, how will the estate tax — the so-called “death tax” — work when death is no longer permanent?
The legal definition of death, and therefore of a decedent, has generally been left to the states, each of which has its own definition. That said, there has been a recent trend away from a definition that focuses on heart function to one that focuses on brain function. It is not at all clear under current state standards whether people who become zombies would be considered dead for state law purposes. A series of questions may help guide the analysis.
The first question that must be answered is whether the person who became a zombie died in the first place. The answer depends in large part on the type of zombie involved, as can be seen by considering a virus-caused zombie outbreak. In many cases zombie plagues clearly cause death under either the heart or brain function standard. In others, the transition from living to zombie involves no discrete event of physical death. Even within a given zombie plague, some may die as a result of their infection and then turn, while others transform while still alive. Thus, identifying the type of plague does not necessarily answer the question of whether the person who became a zombie has died.
And what about marriage? If someone dies as a married person, dies, and then becomes undead, are they still married for tax purposes?
You can find the whole paper here.