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Washington Again Has Highest Estate Tax in U.S.

Washington has highest estate tax in nation - again
Washington has highest estate tax in nation – again (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Tax Foundation on Wednesday released their annual report on which states have the highest estate and inheritance taxes in the U.S. and unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest is well represented.

The estate tax is levied against the total assets of a person when they die if they are transferred, or given through a will,  to somebody else -a child, friend, relative etc – anyone. The tax is levied against the estate, or property of the deceased. It’s often referred to a the “death tax” because it’s technically levied against a dead person!   That’s why you see so many estate sales around the Mid-Columbia…in part to satisfy state tax burdens, sometimes even if there’s a will!

Inheritance taxes are  essentially the same, except the person who inherits or receives any money or property from a person who has died (through their will, etc)  is responsible for paying the tax.   So if you inherit, say, $10,000 from your grandfather,  YOU have to pay the tax from that money.  We don’t have one of those.

Both taxes, especially the estate tax, are considering extremely insulting and insensitive.

Only 19 states have either an estate tax, inheritance tax or both.  Two states, New Jersey and Maryland have both.

According to the Tax Foundation, Washington state again tops the list of having the HIGHEST estate tax in the U.S., ranging from at least 10% to as high as 20%! According to the foundation, at least $2.02 million dollars is taken in by the state annually, just from this tax. Oregon is not far behind, with rates taking between 8 and 16%.

There have been calls to abolish the estate tax, and some states have taken steps to roll back rates, or do away with it, but not here in Washington.

The Tax Foundation is considered the leading authority and watchdog on tax and revenue related policy in the U.S. since 1937.   See the map below (courtesy of the Foundation) of how our country breaks down on these two insidious taxes.  You can see much of the country doesn’t use these.

Estate and Inheritance taxes
(The Tax Foundation)

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