WASHINGTON—Entrenched opposition from some Democrats to a White House plan to tax unrealized capital gains at death has pushed the party to look for alternative methods of collecting additional taxes from wealthy Americans’ appreciating assets.

President Biden put forward a proposal to tax unrealized capital gains—including the appreciated values of homes, business, and stocks in taxable accounts—when the original owner dies, a break from current policy. Under the current tax rule known as the tax-free step-up in basis, someone who dies doesn’t have to pay any taxes on those increases, and the heirs have to pay taxes only when they sell and only on gains that occur after the original owner’s death.

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