Inheritance tax

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COVID-19 Update on Inheritance Tax Returns

Inheritance tax is levied as a percentage of the value of a deceased’s estate transferred to beneficiaries by will, intestate heirs, and assignees by operation of law. The tax rate varies according to the family relationship of the heir to the deceased.

The Pennsylvania estate tax rates are as follows:

  • 0% on transfers to a surviving spouse or parent of a child aged 21 or under;
  • 4.5% on transfers to direct descendants and direct heirs;
  • 12 percent on transfers to siblings; and
  • 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charities, exempt institutions and tax-exempt government entities.

Property held jointly between spouses is exempt from inheritance tax.

Effective for estates of people who die after June 30, 2012, certain farmland and other farm property is exempt from estate tax in Pennsylvania, provided that ownership is transferred to qualifying beneficiaries. For more information on exemptions and related requirements, please see

Information notice on inheritance tax 2012-01.

Inheritance tax payments are due on the death of the deceased and become past due nine months after the death of the individual. If the inheritance tax is paid within three months of the deceased’s death, a 5% allowance is granted.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please see the brochure,

Pennsylvania inheritance tax and safes.

For detailed and historical information on estate tax in Pennsylvania, please see the Tax Compendium.


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