Connecticut currently imposes its own estate tax on estates that have a total gross value of more than $2 million. This amount is significantly less than the federal estate tax threshold; in 2017, only estates worth more than $5.49 million must file a federal estate tax return, and not all of them end up owing tax. But the Connecticut tax rate is much lower than the federal one. Estates larger than $10.1 million pay a Connecticut estate tax rate of 12%, compared to the current federal rate of 40%. For the super rich, Connecticut caps the estate tax at $20 million. (But your estate would have to be bigger than $160 million to reap the benefit of this cap.)
Even if you don’t live in Connecticut, your estate could owe Connecticut estate tax if you own Connecticut real estate or keep other tangible assets (for example, a boat) there. If the total value of the Connecticut assets is at least $2 million, the estate will have to file a Connecticut estate tax return.
For estate tax purposes, your gross estate includes all of your assets, whether or not they go through probate. That means assets held in a revocable living trust are counted as part of your estate, as are funds in a payable-on-death bank account. The gross estate includes:
If you own assets with someone else, generally only your share will be included in your estate. For example, if you and your spouse own your house, half of its value would be included in your estate.
Any assets you leave to your spouse are exempt from Connecticut estate tax, no matter how large the amount. (The rule is the same for federal estate tax.) If you and your same-sex partner have entered into a Connecticut civil union, this state rules applies to you as well.
If a Connecticut estate tax return must be filed after your death, it will be your executor’s responsibility. Both the return and any tax owed are due six months after the death. Downloadable estate tax returns and instructions are available from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, but preparing the return is not a do-it-yourself job for your executor; expert help will be necessary. It can be paid for from estate assets.