Washington Estate Tax: What You Need to Know

Estate tax rates in Washington state are progressive and range from 10% to 20%. The estate tax in Washington applies to estates worth $2.193 million and up.1 If you’re a Washington resident and you’re starting to think about estate planning, this guide takes a deep dive into everything you need to know. If you think your estate may be subject to the estate tax, you may want to consider consulting a tax advisor. (206) 838-3800 — info@ygacpa.com

Washington Estate Tax Exemption

The threshold for the estate tax in Washington is $2.193 million as of 2024. So if a person’s estate is equal to less than $2.193 million, then it won’t be taxed by Washington state upon the person’s death. If the estate is equal to more than $2.193 million, then the first $2.193 million won’t be subject to the estate tax, but the tax will be applied to the value of the estate above that threshold.

Washington Estate Tax Rate

What You Need to Know About the Washington Estate Tax

Washington’s estate tax is progressive, with a series of increasing rates applying as the value of the estate gets higher.

You can find your taxable estate bracket in the chart below. The base taxes paid is what you owe on money that falls below your bracket. Then see how much your taxable estate exceeds the bottom limit of your bracket. Multiply that number by the marginal rate. Finally, add that amount to the base taxes and you’ll have your total estate tax bill.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your total estate is worth $7 million. With the $2.193 million exemption, your taxable estate equals $4.807 million. Find where that total falls on the chart below. The base taxes for you brackets then are $550,000, so keep this number in mind. The bottom of the threshold is $4 million, which you subtract from $4.807 million and get $807,000. That figure multiplied by the marginal rate of 18% is $145,260. That sum ($145,260) plus the base taxes ($550,000) equals $695,260, which is your total Washington estate tax burden.

What Is the Estate Tax?

The estate tax is a tax levied on the estate of a recently deceased person before their money or property is passed on to their heirs. It is sometimes called the “death tax” and only applies to estates worth a particular amount, which varies by state. It shouldn’t be confused with the inheritance tax, which some states apply to money after it has been inherited.

Washington Inheritance Tax

While there is no inheritance tax in Washington, but another state’s inheritance tax could apply to you. For example, in Pennsylvania, the inheritance tax applies if the dead person lived there, even if the inheritor lives out of state.2

Washington Gift Tax

Washington has no gift tax, so you’ll only be subject to the federal gift tax, which says you can give up to $18,000 to individuals without any tax implications in 2024. That number is up from $17,000 in 2023. Any amount gifted over the threshold counts against your 2024 lifetime exemption of $13.61 million.

Washington Estate Tax for Married Couples

The Washington estate tax is not portable for married couples. When both spouses die, only one exemption of $2.193 million applies.

Federal Estate Tax

In addition to the Washington estate tax, there is a federal estate tax you may have to pay, but the exemption is much higher. The federal estate tax exemption is $13.61 million in 2024. It is portable between spouses. This means that by taking certain legal steps, a couple can protect up to $27.22 million from estate taxes.3

The top federal estate tax rate is 40%. By following the same method described in the Washington Estate Tax Rate section and using the table below, you can figure out your federal estate tax burden.4

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