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<<Just curious, how does the IRS know the total assets of millionaires ? >>

From post http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14496541

"...the IRS study also uses a “sample” of millionaires to come up with its figure(s). They [IRS] use the Federal estate tax returns filed for decedents who died in a particular year. Estimates of the living population are then derived by using a multiplier, based on appropriate mortality rates, and then are applied to this sample."


So the IRS knows a lot about dead millionaires and extrapolate this information to live ones.

But aren't dead millionaires usually older than live ones ? And don't older people usually have smaller mortgage balances than younger people ?

Besides, does the estate tax return specifically list mortgage balance ?
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