Although much attention is generally given to the federal estate tax, many never realize or consider that some states also impose their own taxes upon the death of an individual.
State Estate Tax
Like the federal estate tax, an estate tax imposed by a state is based on the value of the deceased person’s estate, not on who receives what from the estate. When imposed, the tax rate is generally far less than the federal estate tax. States that impose an estate tax are:
- District of Columbia,
- New Jersey,
- New York,
- Rhode Island,
- Vermont, and
Keep in mind though, that property left to a surviving spouse is exempt from state estate tax, just as it is exempt from federal estate tax.
State Inheritance Tax
So what's the difference between an inheritance tax and an estate tax? An inheritance tax is based on who receives a deceased person's property and how the beneficiary is related to the deceased person. Therefore, this tax is paid by the recipient, not the estate. The rate depends on who inherits the property; usually, spouses and other close relatives pay nothing or at a low rate. The states that impose an inheritance tax are:
- New Jersey,
- Pennsylvania and
If you live in a state that is impacted by either of these taxes, be sure to consult an attorney for a comprehensive estate plan so that these taxes can be minimized.