What is the estate tax?
The estate tax is a tax on the right to transfer property at the time of death. A Washington decedent or a non-resident decedent who owns property in Washington state may owe estate tax depending on the value of their estate.
Paying the tax
- Who must file a Washington estate tax return?
For deaths on or after Jan. 1, 2014:
The executor for a decedent’s estate is required to file an estate tax return if the gross estate meets the filing threshold for the date of death. See the Filing thresholds and exclusion amounts table to determine if an estate tax return is required to be filed.
If the total gross estate is below the filing threshold, no estate tax return needs to be filed. If the total gross estate is above the filing threshold, an estate tax return must be filed even if no tax would be due.
If a Washington return is required to be filed and a Federal Form 706 is filed, a copy of the Federal Form 706 must be included with the Washington estate tax filing.
If you have additional questions about filing requirements, see our Estate tax Frequently Asked Questions page.
For deaths of Dec. 31, 2013 and prior:
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 360-704-5906 to speak with an estate tax examiner for more information.
- How do I pay the tax?
To pay the estate tax, file the estate tax return and applicable addendums(s), or file an estimated payment with an extension.
Estate tax forms, rules, and information are specific to the date of death.
- Return, extension & payment due dates
One of the following is due nine months after the decedent's date of death:
- Washington estate tax forms and estate tax payment.
- A request for an extension to file the Washington estate tax return and an estimated payment.
A return or extension may be submitted without payment if the estate does not owe any tax. A return or extension submitted without payment is still due nine months after the decedent’s date of death.
Note: Any tax due must be paid within nine months after the date of death or interest will accrue daily on any unpaid principal. An extension of time to file a return does not grant relief from the accrual of interest.
If you have questions, send an email to email@example.com, or call us at 360-704-5906 to speak with an estate tax examiner. Join the Notification Service to get future messages about important Washington estate tax information.
- How do I file an extension?
If you need more time to file, you can apply for a six-month extension of time to file. Approval of an extension of time to file the Washington estate tax return does not grant additional time to pay the estate tax. We recommend submitting an estimated tax payment with the extension if the estate anticipates there will be tax due. Any amounts that remain unpaid after the nine-month due date will accrue daily interest. For interest rates, see our interest rate table.
There are three different ways to apply for an extension of time to file the Washington estate tax return.
If you are filing a Federal Form 706 and are applying for a federal extension:
- Send us a copy of the Federal Form 4768 on or before the date the Washington return is due.
If you are not filing a Federal Form 706, you can:
Submit an application for an extension using our new electronic extension application.
- This method requires an estimated electronic payment.
- Submit the Application for Extension of Time to File a Washington State Estate and Transfer Tax Return on or before the date the Washington return is due.
- Submit an application for an extension using our new electronic extension application.
- If you are filing a Federal Form 706 and are applying for a federal extension:
- How is the tax calculated?
Calculate the tax using the Washington taxable estate and Table W. The "Washington taxable estate" means the gross estate less:
- Allowable deductions from Schedule J, K, L, M and O.
- Applicable exclusion amounts.
- If applicable:
A Washington resident dies in 2019 leaving a gross estate of $4,000.000. The estate incurs funeral and attorney's fees of $50,000 during the administration of the estate, and the decedent had $50,000 in personal debt at death. The Washington tax due is calculated as follows:
Applicable exclusion for dates of death in 2019
Washington taxable estate
Tax due applying the Washington taxable estate to Table W
- Where do I mail my forms (extension, payment, return)?
Mail extensions, payments, and estate tax returns to:
Washington State Department of Revenue
PO Box 47474
Olympia WA 98504-7474
What are funds used for?
The estate tax funds are deposited into the Education Legacy Trust Fund. It provides funding for:
- The student achievement fund for reducing class sizes, professional development of teachers, extended learning such as before- and after-school programs, and pre-kindergarten learning.
- Learning assistance program to help kindergarten through 12th-grade students who are not up to standards.
- Higher education (which includes monies for financial aid, supporting additional enrollment of students, adult basic education programs in community colleges, work-study programs, etc).
Send us your question or call 360-704-5906, option 1, to speak with an estate tax examiner.