Pennsylvania Estate Taxes

Definition of Probate

Pennsylvania has an inheritance tax, not an estate tax. The Keystone State is among one of several states that still assess a separate state inheritance tax on certain property owned by Pennsylvania residents and real estate and tangible personal property located in Pennsylvania that is owned by a nonresident.

The rates for the Pennsylvania inheritance tax is as follows:

  • 0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child aged 21 or younger;
  • 4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs;
  • 12 percent on transfers to siblings; and
  • 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax.

Property owned jointly between husband and wife is exempt from inheritance tax.

For deaths occurring on or after June 30, 2012, working family farms and some related agricultural commodities are exempt from the Pennsylvania inheritance tax.

See Probate Court, State Probate Courts, Avoiding Probate, and Estate Taxes for more information.

Code Section Title 20, Chapter 37 Apportionment -- Death Taxes
When is estate tax due?

Inheritance tax payments are due upon the death of the decedent and become delinquent nine months after the individual’s death. If inheritance tax is paid within three months of the decedent’s death, a 5 percent discount is allowed.

What is the Tax Rate?

The rates for Pennsylvania inheritance tax are as follows:

  • 0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child aged 21 or younger;
  • 4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs (see below for definitions);
  • 12 percent on transfers to siblings; and
  • 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax.
What Expenses Can Be Deducted From the Value of a Pennsylvania Estate?
  • Funeral expenses
  • Attorney's fees
  • Personal representative and trustee fees
  • Lawful debts owed by the decedent, including mortgages
  • Certain unpaid taxes
List of Forms Inheritance Tax Forms

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Get Legal Help Understanding Pennsylvania Estate Taxes

Planning an estate or navigating probate in Pennsylvania can be stressful and confusing. Professional advice can help you understand how to minimize tax penalties and ensure that estate resolution doesn't become a nightmare. Contact a qualified local tax attorney to learn how he or she can help you better understand Pennsylvania's estate taxes.

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