Inheritance tax

An inheritance tax or estate tax is a levy paid by a person who inherits money or property or a tax on the estate (total value of the money and property) of a person who has died.[1] In international tax law, there is a distinction between an estate tax and an inheritance tax: an estate tax is assessed on the assets of the deceased, while an inheritance tax is assessed on the legacies received by the beneficiaries of the estate. However, this distinction is not always respected in the language of tax laws. For example, the "inheritance tax" in the United Kingdom is a tax on the assets of the deceased, and is therefore, strictly speaking, an estate tax.

In some jurisdictions the term used is death duty. For historical reasons that term is used colloquially (though not legally) in the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth nations.


Varieties of inheritance and estate taxes

  • Belgium, droits de succession or successierechten (Inheritance tax). Collected at the federal level but distributed to the regional level.
  • Bermuda: stamp duty
  • Czech Republic: daň dědická (Inheritance tax)
  • Finland: perintövero (Finnish) or arvskatt (Swedish) (Inheritance tax)
  • France: droits de succession (Inheritance tax)
  • Germany: Erbschaftssteuer (Inheritance tax)
  • Republic of Ireland: Inheritance tax (Cáin pidhreachta)
  • Italy: tassa di successione (Inheritance tax). Abolished in 2001.,[2] and reestablished in 2006. €1,000,000 exemption on a bequest to a spouse or child, and a maximum rate of 8%.[3][4]
  • The Netherlands: Successierecht (Inheritance tax)
  • Norway: arveavgift (inheritance and gift tax). Smaller bequests are exempt. Bequests larger than a certain value are taxed from 6% to 15%, depending on the status of the beneficiary and the size of the taxable amount. See Taxation in Norway.
  • Switzerland has no national inheritance tax. Some cantons impose estate taxes or inheritance taxes.
  • United Kingdom: see Inheritance Tax (United Kingdom) (actually an estate tax)
  • United States: see Estate tax in the United States

Some jurisdictions formerly had estate or inheritance taxes, but have abolished them:

  • Australia abolished the federal estate tax in 1979.[5]
  • Austria abolished the Erbschaftssteuer in 2008. This tax had some of the features of the gift tax, which was abolished at the same time.[6]
  • Canada: abolished inheritance tax in 1972.
  • Hong Kong: abolished estate duty in 2006 for all deaths occurring on or after 11 February 2006. (See Estate Duty Ordinance Cap.111)
  • India: had an estate tax from 1953 to 1985.[7]
  • Israel: abolished inheritance tax in 1981.
  • Louisiana: abolished inheritance tax in 2008, for deaths occurring on or after July 1, 2004.[8]
  • New Hampshire: abolished state inheritance tax in 2003; abolisherd surcharge on Federal estate tax in 2005.[9]
  • New Zealand abolished estate duty in 1992.
  • Russia abolished inheritance tax in 2006.
  • Singapore: abolished estate tax in 2008, for deaths occurring on or after 15 Feb 2008.[10][11]
  • Sweden: abolished inheritance tax in 2005.[12]
  • Utah: abolished inheritance tax in 2005.[13]

Some states of the United States impose inheritance or estate taxes (see Inheritance tax at the state level):

  • Indiana[citation needed]
  • Iowa: Inheritance is exempt if passed to a surviving spouse, parents, or grandparents, or to children, grandchildren,or other "lineal" descendants. Other recipients are subject to inheritance tax, with rates varying depending on the relationship of the recipient to the deceased.[14]
  • Kentucky: The inheritance tax is a tax on a beneficiary's right to receive property from a decedent's estate. It is imposed as a percentage of the amount transferred to the beneficiary. Transfers to "Class A" relatives (spouses, parents, children, grandchildren, and siblings) are exempt. Transfers to "Class B" relatives (nieces, nephews, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, aunts, uncles, and great-grandchildren) are taxable. Transfers to "Class C" recipients (all other persons) are taxable at a higher rate.[15] Kentucky imposes an estate tax in addition to its inheritance tax.[15]
  • Maryland[citation needed]
  • Nebraska[citation needed]
  • New Jersey[citation needed]
  • Oklahoma[citation needed]
  • Pennsylvania: Inheritance tax is a flat tax on the value of the decedent's taxable estate as of the date of death, less allowable funeral and administrative expenses and debts of the decedent. Pennsylvania does not allow the six month after date of death alternate valuation method that is available at the federal level. Transfers to spouses exempt. Transfers to grandparents, parents, or lineal descendants are taxed at 4.5%. Transfers to siblings are taxed at 12%. Transfers to any other persons are taxed at 15%. Some assets are exempted, including life insurance proceeds. The inheritance tax is imposed on both residents and nonresidents who owned real estate and tangible personal property in Pennsylvania at the time of their death. The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return (Form Rev-1500) must be filed within nine (9) months of the date of death.[16]
  • Tennessee:[17]

Other taxation applied to inheritance

In some jurisdictions, when assets are transferred by inheritance, any unrealized increase in the value of those assets is subject to capital gains tax, payable immediately. This applies in Canada, which has no inheritance tax. (see Taxation in Canada)

Where a jurisdiction has both capital gains tax and inheritance tax, it is usual to exempt inheritances from capital gains tax.

In some jurisdictions death gives rise to the local equivalent of gift tax (see Austria, for example). This was the model in the United Kingdom during the period before the introduction of Inheritance Tax in 1986, where estates were charged to a form of gift tax called Capital Transfer Tax. Where a jurisdiction has both gift tax and inheritance tax, it is usual to exempt inheritances from gift tax. Also, it is common for inheritance taxes to share some features of gift taxes, by taxing some transfers which happen during the lifetime of the giver rather than on death. The United Kingdom, for example, subjects "lifetime chargeable transfers" (usually gifts to trusts) to inheritance tax.

See also


  1. ^ O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 358. ISBN 0-13-063085-3. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Estate Duty Act came into effect 15 October 1953. The E.D.(Amendment) Act of 1985 discontinued the estate duty on deaths occurring on or after 16 March 1985.
  8. ^ Inheritance and Estate Transfer Taxes
  9. ^ Estate Taxes by State - Does New Hampshire Have an Estate Tax?
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Inheritance tax does not reduce inequality, The Guardian, August 31, 2006
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Iowa Department of Revenue: Iowa Taxes". 2010-07-08. 
  15. ^ a b "A Guide to Kentucky Inheritance and Estate Taxes: General Information". Kentucky Revenue Cabinet. March 2003. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Tenn. Code Ann. 67-8-303

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • inheritance tax — n: an excise tax that is levied upon the privilege of receiving property as heir or next of kin under the law of intestacy and that is measured by the value of the property received compare estate tax Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam… …   Law dictionary

  • inheritance tax — ( IHT) This is a tax that is levied on the value of your estate (all the assets you own) when you die. You only pay inheritance tax (at a rate of 40%) once your estate value exceeds a certain limit for the tax year 2001 2002 the limit is £242,000 …   Financial and business terms

  • inheritance tax — inheritance taxes N COUNT An inheritance tax is a tax which has to be paid on the money and property of someone who has died …   English dictionary

  • inheritance tax — ► NOUN ▪ (in the UK) tax levied on property and money acquired by gift or inheritance …   English terms dictionary

  • inheritance tax — n. a tax levied by the state upon the right of a beneficiary to receive the property of a deceased person …   English World dictionary

  • inheritance tax — a tax levied on the right of an heir to receive a decedent s property, the rate being a percentage of the value of the property. Also called death tax; Brit., death duty. Cf. estate tax. [1835 45] * * * Levy on the property accruing to each… …   Universalium

  • inheritance tax — IHT A tax introduced in the budget of 1986 to replace capital transfer tax. Inheritance tax is chargeable on the death of an individual domiciled in the UK on all property, wherever it is situated. It is also charged on potentially exempt… …   Accounting dictionary

  • inheritance tax — IHT A tax introduced in the Budget of 1986 to replace capital transfer tax Inheritance tax is chargeable on the death of an individual domiciled in the UK on all property, wherever it is situated. It is also charged on potentially exempt… …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • inheritance tax — A succession tax; a tax on the privilege of taking property of a decedent in accordance with law or on the right to receive property of a decedent. Not a tax on decedent s privilege of disposition of his property. 28 Am J Rev ed Inher T § 8. A… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • Inheritance Tax — In some states in the U.S. (and in the United Kingdom), a tax imposed on those who inherit assets from a deceased person. The tax rate for inheritance taxes depends on the value of the property received by the heir or beneficiary and his/her… …   Investment dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.