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A State-by-State Look at the Estate Tax

House Republicans are expected to bring their proposal to repeal the federal estate tax to a vote in the week of April 13.  Repeal would reduce revenues by $269 billion over the next decade and worsen inequality because it would benefit only a small number of the nation’s wealthiest estates.  How small?  See the table below, which estimates how many estates in each state would benefit from repeal in 2016.  (The note explains our methodology, based on IRS and Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT] data.)

Nationally, just 5,400 estates would face the tax in 2016, JCT estimates.  Only the estates of the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans — roughly 2 out of every 1,000 people who die — owe any estate tax.

For those estates, the gains would be staggering.  Taxable estates in 2016 would get a tax cut averaging more than $3 million apiece, JCT data show.  The 318 estates worth at least $50 million would receive tax windfalls averaging more than $20 million each.

State Estimated number of taxable estates in 2016
Alabama 50
Alaska *fewer than 10
Arizona 60
Arkansas 30
California 970
Colorado 100
Connecticut 140
Delaware 10
District of Columbia 40
Florida 660
Georgia 100
Hawaii 30
Idaho 20
Illinois 220
Indiana 60
Iowa 60
Kansas 40
Kentucky 40
Louisiana 80
Maine *fewer than 10
Maryland 70
Massachusetts 140
Michigan 100
Minnesota 60
Mississippi 30
Missouri 90
Montana 20
Nebraska 60
Nevada 30
New Hampshire 20
New Jersey 130
New Mexico 30
New York 430
North Carolina 120
North Dakota 20
Ohio 100
Oklahoma 50
Oregon 50
Pennsylvania 160
Rhode Island 20
South Carolina 60
South Dakota 20
Tennessee 60
Texas 340
Utah 30
Vermont 20
Virginia 200
Washington 100
West Virginia 10
Wisconsin 70
Wyoming *fewer than 10
Other areas 40
Note: Estimates are based on IRS data showing the number of estates that paid the tax in each state in 2013 and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that 5,400 estates nationally would face the tax in 2016. We assume that each state's share of those 5,400 estates would be the same as in the 2013 IRS data. Estimates are rounded to the nearest ten estates and are rough because so few estates pay the tax each year. Estimates with an asterisk indicate that the 2013 IRS data were based on a very small sample of returns, so the IRS noted that those data should be treated with caution.