You have to be concerned about taxation when you are planning your estate. Taxes on asset transfers at death are going to be a factor for many high net worth families. Nevada, however, has no inheritance or estate tax, so we only have to be concerned about the federal estate tax.
There is an estate tax credit or exclusion. In 2014 the amount of this exclusion in this country, including Reno Nevada, is $5.34 million. Lifetime asset transfers exceeding this amount are potentially subject to a transfer tax of 40 percent.
The question of whether or not an inheritance recipient will be required to pay taxes is a multifaceted one. If the assets that comprise the estate do not exceed $5.34 million in value, the estate as a whole will not be taxed. So the answer is no on this level, when the estate is worth less than $5.34 million.
If it was worth more, the individual beneficiaries do not pay the estate tax. The estate is responsible to pay the tax, so it comes out before other transfers, which means that the value of the estate as a whole would be reduced by the imposition of the tax.
Many laypeople would naturally think that an inheritance tax and an estate tax are exactly the same thing. They assume that these are just different terms that describe the same death tax.
In fact, an inheritance tax is something that is by definition different from an estate tax. As we have already touched upon, an estate tax is imposed on the entire estate. An inheritance tax is levied upon each person receiving an inheritance.
Fortunately, there is no inheritance tax in the United States on the federal level and as mentioned above, we do not have a state level inheritance tax in the state of Nevada. However, there are some states in the union that do have inheritance taxes. As we said, the beneficiaries of the estate typically pay an inheritance tax in those states. State level estate taxes are typically paid by the estate, similar to the federal estate tax.
In fact, residents of New Jersey and Maryland are faced with the prospect of paying a state level estate tax, a state level inheritance tax, and the federal estate tax.
It should be noted that states that have an inheritance tax generally exempt very close relatives like spouses and children.
You may wonder if you are going to be forced to report an inheritance on your annual tax return claiming it as income. If you receive a bequest, generally speaking it is not going to be looked upon as taxable income.
However, if the inheritance was to appreciate during the administration process before it was distributed, the gains could be taxable. Similarly, if income is generated during that time, it could be subject to income tax.
Of course, if you sell property that you inherited at a later date after it appreciated, the capital gains tax would be a factor, but the cost basis is stepped up to the value as of the date of the deceased owner's death, so the tax would only be for the appreciation after that date.
This post provided a little bit of information about estate planning and taxation in Reno Nevada. To learn all of the details, contact our firm to schedule a free tax efficiency consultation.