Many people worry about "death taxes"—the informal term for taxes that the federal or state governments might impose on the transfer of your property when you die. Currently, only the very rich will owe federal estate taxes, so unless your estate (the sum of the property you leave behind when you die) is larger than $11.7 million, your estate won't need to pay the federal estate tax. (This threshold amount is subject to change with the political climate, though, and has changed rather dramatically over recent years.) However, some state governments also impose a state estate tax or inheritance tax, which might apply even if your estate does not owe the federal estate tax.
The threshold amount that triggers a state estate tax varies by state, but is typically lower than the federal threshold; in other words, you might owe state estate tax even if you don't owe federal estate tax. Below are the states that currently impose a state estate tax. Select your state to learn more about its estate tax laws, including the threshold amounts that trigger the tax. The lowest state threshold is $1 million.
In the recent past, the following states had a state estate tax in place, but they have since done away with their estate tax laws.
Separately, a few states still impose a state inheritance tax. Each state's rules vary, but whether your inheritors will owe inheritance tax will usually depend on how much you own at your death and each inheritor's relationship to you. (Your close family members pay lower or no inheritance tax, compared to more distant family members or friends.) Check below to see if your state has an inheritance tax and, if so, learn how it works.
In the recent past, the following states imposed a state inheritance tax, but they have since repealed their inheritance tax laws.