New York Estate Taxes

As of January 1, 2011, an updated version of New York’s estate tax law went into effect.  The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is responsible for publishing and enforcing estate tax law for the state.

Following is an overview of the current estate tax laws in effect for New York.  If you are looking for information about federal income tax, please visit our web site’s “Tax Relief” page.

What are estate taxes?

An estate refers to a person’s property left behind at the time of the person’s death.  It is customary that upon death a person’s property will pass to another person through either a will or under the guidance of applicable state or federal laws.

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 itself.  Since the property is going to a person or persons who did not pay for the property or interest in the property, it is treated as income when it exceeds a certain threshold and therefore a tax is imposed on the estate.  This is the estate tax.

Who has to file an estate tax return in New York?

Decedents must file an estate tax return if the decedent was a resident of New York State or the estate includes real or tangible personal property having an actual location in New York State.

What are the thresholds where estate taxes apply?

The estate of a decedent must pay New York State estate tax if the gross estate plus federal adjusted taxable gifts exceeds $1,000,000.

What forms must I file related to New York State estate taxes?  And where do I file the forms?

If the decedent was a resident of New York State at the time of his or her death, the decedent’s estate must file Form ET-706 New York State Estate Tax Return.  If the decedent was a non-resident of the United States and not a citizen of the United States at the time of his or her death, the decedent’s estate must file Form ET-706 if the estate is required to file a federal estate tax return and the estate includes real or tangible personal property actually located in New York State.

Form ET-706 may be mailed to the following address:

NYS Estate Tax

Processing Center

PO Box 15167

Alabany, NY 12212-5167

Alternatively, Form ET-706 may be delivered by a delivery service to:

State Processing Center

431C Broadway

Alabany, NY 12204-4836

When must I file forms related to New York State estate taxes?

You must file Form ET-706 within nine months after the decedent’s date of death unless you receive an extension of time to file the return.  You can obtain an extension of time to file a New York State estate tax return by filing Form ET-133 Application for Extension of Time to File and/or Pay Estate Tax.  Typically, an extension will grant up to an additional six months for the executor of an estate to file the estate tax return.

Remember that an extension to file an estate tax return is only an extension related to filing of the appropriate forms.  You must still pay an estimate of an estate tax owed within the original nine-month timeframe or you will be assessed interest and penalties on the unpaid balance owed.

If you can establish with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance that paying any of the estate tax within the original nine months would result in an undue hardship to the estate, then the Tax Department may grant an extension of up to four years on the payment of the estate tax.

Who can I contact if I have questions about New York State 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 New York 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.