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Estate and Inheritance Taxes by State in 2021

Estate and inheritance taxes are complicated -- start here.

By Lyle Daly – Sep 29, 2021 at 2:18PM

Estate and inheritance taxes are two types of death taxes. They apply to the assets a deceased person leaves behind, such as real estate, bank accounts, and securities.

In the United States, estate taxes are more common. There's a federal estate tax, although it only applies to estates worth over $11.7 million. Several states have their own estate taxes with lower thresholds, while five have inheritance taxes.

Because these taxes vary by state, location plays a key role in how much an estate and the beneficiaries of an inheritance pay. Keep reading for all the most recent estate and inheritance tax rates by state.

Key findings

  • A federal estate tax ranging from 18% to 40% applies to all estates worth more than $11.7 million.
  • 16 states and Washington, D.C. have estate or inheritance taxes.
  • Maryland is the only state that has both an estate tax and an inheritance tax.
  • Only five states have inheritance taxes, and one (Iowa) will eliminate its inheritance tax by 2025.
  • Massachusetts and Oregon have the lowest threshold for estate taxes, as they impose taxes on all estates worth over $1 million.
  • Washington has the highest estate tax at 20%, applied to the portion of an estate's value greater than $11,193,000.
  • Inheritance tax rates depend on the beneficiary's relation to the deceased, and in each state, certain types of relationships are exempt from inheritance tax.

What's the difference between estate and inheritance taxes?

The difference between estate taxes and inheritance taxes is who pays them. Estate taxes are paid by the deceased's estate before any inheritance is issued. Inheritance taxes are paid by beneficiaries of an inheritance on the amount they receive.

For example, let's say a family member passes away in an area with a 5% estate tax and a 10% inheritance tax. They leave you their estate that's worth $1 million. Here's how estate and inheritance taxes would work:

  • The estate would pay $50,000 (5%) in estate taxes.
  • You would receive $950,000.
  • You would pay $95,000 (10%) in inheritance taxes.

Federal estate taxes

Federal estate taxes apply to estates worth more than $11.7 million as of 2021. Tax rates range from 18% to 40%. There is no federal inheritance tax.

The following table lists federal estate tax rates based on the taxable amount, which is the value of the estate minus the $11.7 million exclusion:

Data source: Internal Revenue Service (2021).
Taxable value of estate (total value of estate minus $11.7M) Federal estate tax rate
Up to $10,000 18%
Over $10,000 to $20,000 20%
Over $20,000 to $40,000 22%
Over $40,000 to $60,000 24%
Over $60,000 to $80,000 26%
Over $80,000 to $100,000 28%
Over $100,000 to $150,000 30%
Over $150,000 to $250,000 32%
Over $250,000 to $500,000 34%
Over $500,000 to $750,000 37%
Over $750,000 to $1,000,000 39%
Over $1,000,000 40%

States that don't have estate or inheritance taxes

The following states don't have estate or inheritance taxes:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

In those states, the only tax that would apply is the federal estate tax on estates worth over $11.7 million.

Now, let's look at the states with estate taxes, inheritance taxes, or both.

Connecticut estate taxes

Connecticut has an estate tax ranging from 10.8% to 12% with an annual exclusion amount of $7.1 million in 2021.

In 2022, Connecticut estate taxes will range from 11.6% to 12% with a $9.1-million annual exclusion. And in 2023, Connecticut will have a flat-rate estate tax of 12% with an $11.4-million annual exclusion.

Here are Connecticut's estate tax rates for 2021 and 2022:

Data source: Office of Legislative Research.
Value of estate Connecticut estate tax rate (2021) Connecticut estate tax rate (2022)
Up to $7,100,000 0% 0%
$7,100,001 to $8,100,000 10.8% 0%
$8,100,001 to $9,100,000 11.2% 0%
$9,100,001 to $10,100,000 11.6% 11.6%
$10,100,001 and greater 12% 12%

Illinois estate taxes

Illinois has an estate tax on estates over $4 million. Estate tax rates range from 0.8% to 16%.

Although Illinois exempts estates up to $4 million from estate taxes, it taxes the entire amount of estates that are worth more than that. To determine tax rates, it uses the federal credit for state death taxes table. This table has over 20 tax rates corresponding to different amount ranges.

For example, amounts of at least $40,000 but less than $90,000 have a tax rate of 0.8% -- but only if the estate is worth more than $4 million. The tax rate increases to 1.6% for amounts of at least $90,000 but less than $140,000. This pattern continues up to amounts of at least $10,040,000, which have a tax rate of 16%.

The easiest option for Illinois residents who want to figure out estate taxes is the Illinois Attorney General's estate tax calculator.

Iowa inheritance taxes

Iowa has an inheritance tax, but in 2021, the state decided it would repeal this tax by 2025. Inheritance taxes in Iowa will decrease by 20% per year from 2021 through 2024. For deaths that occur in or after 2025, there will be no inheritance tax.

The inheritance tax in Iowa applies to estates of $25,000 or more. Estates with lower values are exempt from inheritance tax. Iowa also exempts beneficiaries from paying inheritance tax if they're a surviving spouse or a lineal ascendant or descendant to the deceased. Lineal ascendants and descendants include

  • parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents;
  • children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; and
  • descendants by adoption.

For other beneficiaries of an inheritance, the inheritance tax rate depends on the party's relation to the deceased. Individuals who aren't exempt will be in one of two groups: Tax Rate B or Tax Rate C.

Tax Rate B applies to siblings, half-siblings, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law. Here are the rates for this group:

Data source: Iowa Department of Revenue (2020).
Value of inheritance Iowa inheritance Tax Rate B (2020)
Up to $12,500 5%
Over $12,500 to $25,000 6%
Over $25,000 to $75,000 7%
Over $75,000 to $100,000 8%
Over $100,000 to $150,000 9%
Over $150,000 10%

Tax Rate C applies to uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, foster children, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and all other individuals. Here are the tax rates for this group:

Data source: Iowa Department of Revenue (2020).
Value of inheritance Iowa inheritance Tax Rate C (2020)
Up to $50,000 10%
Over $50,000 to $100,000 12%
Over $100,000 15%

Kentucky inheritance taxes

Kentucky has an inheritance tax ranging from 4% to 16% that varies based on the beneficiary's relation to the deceased. There are three classes of beneficiaries in Kentucky: Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Class A is exempt from paying inheritance taxes if the date of the death was after June 30, 1998. This class is close family members, and it includes

  • surviving spouses,
  • parents,
  • children and grandchildren, and
  • siblings and half-siblings.

Class B beneficiaries receive a $1,000 inheritance tax exemption. This class is for other family members, and it includes

  • nieces and nephews (as well as half-nieces and half-nephews),
  • daughters-in-law and sons-in-law,
  • aunts and uncles, and
  • great-grandchildren.

Class C beneficiaries receive a $500 tax exemption. All individuals not included in Class A or Class B, including cousins, are part of Class C.

Here are the Kentucky inheritance tax rates for Class B and Class C:

Data source: Kentucky Department of Revenue.
Value of inheritance Kentucky Class B inheritance tax rate Kentucky Class C inheritance tax rate
Up to $500 0% 0%
Over $500 to $1,000 0% 6%
Over $1,000 to $10,000 4% 6%
Over $10,000 to $20,000 5% 8%
Over $20,000 to $30,000 6% 10%
Over $30,000 to $45,000 8% 12%
Over $45,000 to $60,000 10% 14%
Over $60,000 to $100,000 12% 16%
Over $100,000 to $200,000 14% 16%
Over $200,000 16% 16%

Maine estate taxes

Maine has an estate tax ranging from 8% to 12%. It offers an annual exclusion amount of $5,870,000 for deaths in 2021.

Here are Maine's current estate taxes:

Data source: Maine Revenue Services.
Value of estate Maine estate tax rate (2021)
Up to $5,870,000 0%
Over $5,870,000 to $8,870,000 8%
Over $8,870,000 to $11,870,000 10%
Over $11,870,000 12%

Maryland estate and inheritance taxes

Maryland is the only state that has an estate tax and an inheritance tax.

The Maryland estate tax is 16% on estates worth over $5 million. Its inheritance tax is 10% for those dying on or after July 1, 2000. However, beneficiaries with any of the following relationships to the deceased are exempt from paying the Maryland inheritance tax:

  • Children or other lineal descendants.
  • Spouses of children or other lineal descendants.
  • Spouses.
  • Parents and grandparents.
  • Stepchildren and stepparents.
  • Siblings.

When estate and inheritance taxes apply, the amount of the estate tax is reduced by the amount of the inheritance tax.

Massachusetts estate taxes

Massachusetts has an estate tax on estates over $1 million. Estate tax rates range from 0.8% to 16%.

Like Illinois, Massachusetts uses the federal credit for state death taxes table to determine estate tax rates. It taxes the entire amount of the estate on estates over that $1 million threshold.

The federal credit for state death taxes table has a tax rate of 0% for the first $40,000. A tax rate of 0.8% applies on amounts of at least $40,000 but less than $90,000, and tax rates increase sequentially from there.

The full table of Massachusetts estate tax rates is available in the state's guide to estate taxes.

Minnesota estate taxes

Minnesota has an estate tax ranging from 13% to 16%. Estate taxes apply to estates worth over $3,000,000 as of 2020.

Here are Minnesota's estate tax rates:

Data source: Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Value of estate Minnesota estate tax rate (2020)
Up to $7,100,000 13%
Over $7,100,000 to $8,100,000 13.6%
Over $8,100,000 to $9,100,000 14.4%
Over $9,100,000 to $10,100,000 15.2%
Over $10,100,000 16%

Nebraska inheritance taxes

Nebraska has an inheritance tax ranging from 1% to 18%. The tax rate and exemption amount depend on the beneficiary's relationship to the decedent. Surviving spouses don't need to pay inheritance tax in Nebraska.

Here are Nebraska's inheritance tax rates and exemption amounts:

Data source: Nebraska Legislature.
Relation to deceased Nebraska inheritance tax rate Exemption amount
Immediate relatives 1% $40,000
Remote relatives 13% $15,000
All other beneficiaries 18% $10,000

For inheritance tax purposes, Nebraska considers the following relations to be immediate relatives:

  • Children, adopted children, grandchildren, and other lineal descendants.
  • Siblings.
  • Parents and grandparents.
  • Spouses of any of the immediate relatives listed above.
  • Relatives of the decedent's former spouse, if the decedent was married to the former spouse at the time of the former spouse's death.

Nebraska considers the following relations to be remote relatives:

  • Nieces and nephews.
  • Aunts and uncles.
  • Lineal descendants or spouses of the remote relatives listed above.

New Jersey inheritance taxes

New Jersey has an inheritance tax ranging from 11% to 16%. The tax rate and the exemption amount depend on the beneficiary's relation to the deceased. New Jersey previously had an estate tax, but the state repealed it in 2018.

There are three classes of individual beneficiaries in New Jersey: Class A, Class C, and Class D.

Class A is exempt from New Jersey inheritance tax. This class includes the following relationships:

  • Surviving spouses, domestic partners, and civil union partners.
  • Children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and other lineal descendants (does not include step-grandchildren or great-step grandchildren).
  • Parents and grandparents.

Class C has a $25,000 inheritance tax exemption. This class includes siblings and the child's spouse or civil union partner. Here are the New Jersey inheritance tax rates for Class C:

Data source: State of New Jersey Division of Taxation.
Value of inheritance New Jersey Class C inheritance tax rate
Up to $25,000 0%
Over $25,000 to $1,100,000 11%
Over $1,100,000 to $1,400,000 13%
Over $1,400,000 to $1,700,000 14%
Over $1,700,000 16%

Class D has no tax exemption. It includes anyone who isn't in Class A or Class C. It has a simple tax structure:

Data source: State of New Jersey Division of Taxation.
Value of inheritance New Jersey Class D inheritance tax rate
Up to $700,000 15%
Over $700,000 16%

New York estate taxes

New York has an estate tax ranging from 3.06% to 16%. Estate taxes apply to estates worth more than the basic exclusion amount of $5,930,000 as of 2021.

If an estate is worth more than the basic exclusion amount, then estate taxes apply to its full value. Tax rates start at 3.06% on amounts up to $500,000 and gradually increase to the highest rate of 16% on amounts over $10,100,000. The full tax table is available on the New York State Estate Tax Return Form ET-706.

Oregon estate taxes

Oregon has an estate tax ranging from 10% to 16%. The state has an exemption of $1 million in estate taxes.

Here are Oregon's estate tax rates:

Data source: Oregon Department of Revenue.
Value of estate Oregon estate tax rate (2020)
Up to $1,000,000 0%
Over $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 10%
Over $1,500,000 to $2,500,000 10.25%
Over $2,500,000 to $3,500,000 10.5%
Over $3,500,000 to $4,500,000 11%
Over $4,500,000 to $5,500,000 11.5%
Over $5,500,000 to $6,500,000 12%
Over $6,500,000 to $7,500,000 13%
Over $7,500,000 to $8,500,000 14%
Over $8,500,000 to $9,500,000 15%
Over $9,500,000 16%

Pennsylvania inheritance taxes

Pennsylvania has an inheritance tax ranging from 4.5% to 15%. Inheritance tax rates depend on the beneficiary's relationship to the decedent. Surviving spouses and parents of children aged 21 or younger are exempt from paying inheritance taxes.

Here are Pennsylvania's inheritance tax rates:

Data source: Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
Relation to deceased Pennsylvania inheritance tax rate
Surviving spouses and parents of children aged 21 or younger 0%
Direct descendants and lineal heirs 4.5%
Siblings 12%
All other beneficiaries 15%

Rhode Island estate taxes

Rhode Island has an estate tax on estates worth over $1,595,156 as of 2021. Estate tax rates range from 0.8% to 16%.

Rhode Island uses the federal credit for state death taxes table to determine estate tax rates. It taxes the entire amount of states that are over the $1,595,156 threshold.

The federal credit for state death taxes table has a tax rate of 0% for the first $40,000. A tax rate of 0.8% applies on amounts of at least $40,000 but less than $90,000, and tax rates increase sequentially from there.

The full table of Rhode Island estate tax rates is available on the state's estate tax return Form RI-100A.

Vermont estate taxes

Vermont's estate tax is a flat rate of 16% on the portion of a taxable estate that exceeds the exclusion amount. The state's exclusion amount is $5,000,000 as of 2021, and it was $4,250,000 in 2020.

Washington estate taxes

Washington has an estate tax ranging from 10% to 20%. The estate tax exclusion is $2,193,000 as of 2021.

Here are Washington's estate tax rates:

Data source: Washington State Department of Revenue
Value of estate Washington estate tax rate (2021)
Up to $2,193,000 0%
Over $2,193,000 to $3,193,000 10%
Over $3,193,000 to $4,193,000 14%
Over $4,193,000 to $5,193,000 15%
Over $5,193,000 to $6,193,000 16%
Over $6,193,000 to $8,193,000 18%
Over $8,193,000 to $9,193,000 19%
Over $9,193,000 to $11,193,000 19.5%
Over $11,193,000 20%

Washington, D.C. estate taxes

Washington, D.C. has an estate tax ranging from 12% to 16%. The estate tax exclusion is $4,000,000 as of 2021, after the district chose to lower it from $5,762,400 in 2020. Starting in 2022, the exclusion amount will increase annually based on a cost of living adjustment.

Although Washington, D.C.'s estate tax rates for 2021 aren't available yet, here are its rates for 2020:

Data source: Washington, D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue.
Value of estate Washington, D.C. state tax rate (2020)
Up to $5,762,400 0%
Over $5,762,400 to $6,000,000 12%
Over $6,000,000 to $7,000,000 12.8%
Over $7,000,000 to $8,000,000 13.6%
Over $8,000,000 to $9,000,000 14.4%
Over $9,000,000 to $10,000,000 15.2%
Over $10,000,000 16%

Sources

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