Inheritance Tax Law and Legal Definition

In some states, an inheritance tax may apply to gifts received from a decedent. The tax is based upon a person’s (beneficiary’s) right to receive money or property which was owned by the decedent at the date of death. Certain exemptions may apply, depending on the jurisdiction. This is in contrast to the federal estate tax, which is a tax upon the entire amount of property owned by the decedent at the time of death. Also, federal tax rules have special provisions for the valuation of inherited property.

Inheritance tax is a tax on the share going to a beneficiary, and it is the beneficiary who is responsible for payment of the tax. However, it is typically the duty of the personal representative to see that the tax is collected and paid. An estate is not closed until the inheritance tax has been paid. Local laws should be consulted to determine specific requirements in your area.