Washington Estate Taxes

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

In Washington, the state collects an estate tax when a person dies in some situations. This is separate from any taxes the federal government will collect. The Evergreen State is among one of several states that still assesses separate estate taxes on certain property when a person dies.

When is an Estate Subject to the Tax?

For deaths that occurred on or after January 1, 2014 and on or before December 31, 2014, an estate may be subject to the Washington estate tax if the decedent owned property located in Washington State and the gross estate, or taxable estate plus any taxable gifts, exceeds $2,012,000.

What Is The Applicable Tax Rate?

Currently, any amounts in a Washington decedent's estate in excess of $2 million are subject to Washington state estate tax at rates ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent.

Please note, a new law signed into law in June 2013 has caused the 2013 exemption of $2,000,000 to be adjusted for inflation on an annual basis beginning on January 1, 2014.

When Are The Washington Estate Taxes Due?

The applicable Washington State Estate Tax Return must be filed, and any estate tax due must be paid, within nine (9) months of the decedent's date of death.

The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA): Federal and Washington State Estate Taxes For Same-Sex Married Couples

Washington State has recognized same-sex marriage since 2012. However, the estate tax is tied to the federal estate tax. Hence, until the Supreme Court issued its decision on DOMA, there was a question whether or not same-sex couples were entitled to claim the marital deduction for Washington estate tax purposes..

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the DOMA law which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. The Court held that, by defining marriage as between a man and a woman, DOMA violated the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

This means that all individuals who are legally married are now entitled to receive the same federal benefits, regardless of their gender.

As a result of the ruling, among other benefits, same-sex married couples can take advantage of the federal estate tax marital deduction, resulting in potentially huge estate tax savings.

Where Can I Find Additional Information About Washington Estate Taxes?

For more information about Washington estate taxes, refer to the Washington State's Department of Revenue website.

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

Government Agency Washington Department of Revenue
When is estate tax due?

The estate tax is due nine (9) months after a death.

What is the Tax Rate?

The Washington estate tax is calculated using the Washington taxable estate and Table W .

List of Forms

Estate Tax Forms (PDF)

Code Chapter 83.100 RCW

Washington tax laws can be tricky. Please consider contacting a local tax attorney who can help you better understand the current rules and procedures.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.