Delaware Estate Taxes

Effective July 1, 2009, Chapter 15 of Title 30 of the Delaware Constitution imposed an estate tax.  The Delaware Division of Revenue is responsible for collecting estate tax.

What follows is an overview of the current estate tax law in effect for Delaware.  For information about federal income tax, please visit our web site’s “Tax Relief” page.

What are estate taxes?

An estate refers to all of a person’s property they owned at the time of the person’s death.  This property would include but would not be limited to real estate; bank accounts; stocks, bonds, and other investments; vehicles; personal property; proceeds from life insurance; retirement account balances; and interest in any business.  Normally when a person dies their property will be passed to another person.  This passing of property may be through a will or through the probate process for that state.  In either case, estate taxes may apply.

For the transfer of property through an estate, government agencies including certain states and the federal government through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impose tax on such transfers against the estate.  Since the person did not pay anything of value for the property or interest in the property, the estate itself is taxed.  This is known as the estate tax.

Who has to file an estate tax return in Delaware?

Anyone who has real or tangible personal property in Delaware must file an estate tax return.  It does not matter if the person is a resident or a non-resident of the state of Delaware.

What are the thresholds where estate taxes apply?

Delaware has a large minimum threshold for requiring the filing of estate tax, with the minimum threshold being an estate that exceeds more than $5,000,000.

What forms must I use to file Delaware estate taxes?  And where do I file the forms?

Delaware uses Form 900-R Delaware Estate Tax Return for Resident Decedents for the filing of estate tax.  The form must be provided to the Delaware Division of Revenue.  The form and any payment of estate tax may be sent to:

Delaware Division of Revenue

PO Box 2044

Wilmington, DE 19899-2044

When do I have to file estate tax with the state of Delaware?

Estate taxes must be filed with the state within nine months after the date of the decedent’s death.  If any estate tax payment is not made within nine months, interest starts to accrue on the unpaid balance at the rate of 1/2 % of per month.

The Secretary of Finance may grant an extension for the filing of an estate tax form for a reasonable amount of time based on a written request.

Who can I contact if I have questions about Delaware estate taxes?

If you have questions about estate taxes, you should call the telephone number located at the top of this page.  You can speak with a tax attorney who is familiar with Delaware state and federal estate tax laws who will be able to answer all of your questions.

by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.