Washington Estate Tax

If you live in the state of Washington or have property located in Washington, you may be subject to the state’s estate tax.  The Washington State Department of Revenue is responsible for collecting estate tax based on the applicable state laws.  These estate tax laws have been in effect in their current form since May 17, 2005.

Below is a summary of Washington state’s estate tax laws.  For additional information on federal income tax or other tax subjects, see our web site’s “Tax Relief” page.

What is an estate tax?

The estate of a person refers to all the assets a person owned at the time of the person’s death.  When someone dies, that person often has a will.  A will is a document that defines the person’s wishes on what will happen to his assets.  This may include passing specific assets to family members, friends, charitable organizations, or other individuals or groups.  If a person does not have a will defining how his assets will be distributed, state and federal laws known as probate laws will determine how the person’s assets are distributed.

In either case, when assets are transferred to a person or entity from an estate, there are laws at both the state and federal level that place a tax on that transfer of assets.  When assets are transferred to another person who did not pay for the asset, the transfer is treated as income when the value of the asset exceeds a certain value.  The tax imposed on that value is call an estate tax.

Who is required to file estate tax for Washington?

If a person lived in the state of Washington at the time of his death or owned property located in Washington at the time of his death, then an estate is required to file an estate tax return.

How large does an estate have to be for estate taxes to apply in Washington?

For a person who died on or after January 1, 2006, if the person had an estate with assets valued at $2,000,000 or more, the person will likely owe estate taxes.

Which forms does Washington use to calculate and file estate taxes?  And where should those forms be sent?

Washington uses the Washington State Estate and Transfer Tax Return form to calculate and file estate taxes.  There are two version of this form depending on whether you are also filing Federal Form 706.

Estate tax forms and payments should be mailed to:

Washington State Department of Revenue

PO Box 47488

Olympia, WA 98504-7488

How does Washington calculate the amount of estate tax owed?

Estate tax is calculated using the rates in the following table:

If Washington Taxable Estate

The Amount of Tax Equals

Of Washington Taxable Estate Value Greater Than

Is at Least

But Less Than

Initial Tax Amount

Plus Tax Rate %

$0 $1,000,000 $0 10.00% $0
$1,000,000 $2,000,000 $100,000 14.00% $1,000,000
$2,000,000 $3,000,000 $240,000 15.00% $2,000,000
$3,000,000 $4,000,000 $390,000 16.00% $3,000,000
$4,000,000 $6,000,000 $550,000 17.00% $4,000,000
$6,000,000 $7,000,000 $890,000 18.00% $6,000,000
$7,000,000 $9,000,000 $1,070,000 18.50% $7,000,000
Above $9,000,000   $1,440,000 19.00% Above $9,000,000

When should Washington estate taxes be filed and paid?

Estate tax return forms and payments should be sent to the Department of Revenue within nine months of the date of the person’s death.  A person may obtain an extension on the initial nine month period by filing the Application for Extension of Time to File a Washington State Estate and Transfer Tax Return.  The extension can be for an automatic six months or for longer if the Department of Revenue approves the reason for the longer extension request.

If an estimated payment of the estate taxes due is not made by the end of the original nine months, the Department of Revenue will impose a penalty and interest on the unpaid estate tax balance.

Who can help me with my Washington estate taxes?

If you need help with questions about estate taxes, income taxes, or any other tax issues, you can get that help by calling the telephone number located at the top of this web site or by completing the form below.  A tax attorney will call you to have an initial conversation about your tax questions whatever those questions may be.  This conversation is completely confidential and does not obligate you to anything further.  And the initial conversation is free of charge.

Therefore, if you have tax questions, please take the steps to get answers today.

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.