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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 14, 2012 02:31 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Inheritance Tax Exemption for Domestic Partnerships
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would both define and add the term “domestic partnership” to the list of relatives exempt from paying inheritance taxes upon the transfer of property after the death of said relative.

Currently, a domestic partner would be subjected to the 15% inheritance tax upon his or her partner’s death, as they are not defined or included as one of the enumerated relationships subject to the discounted tax rates under Section 2116 (a)(1), (1.1), (1.2) or (1.3) of the Tax Reform Code of 1971. The only parties exempt from paying inheritance taxes on property transferred to them include spouses and parents of children under the age of 21.

This legislation is an effort to get domestic partners’ financial rights in line with those of married couples. Many deeply committed couples, for their own personal reasons or for reasons of gender, are not married. However, this does not negate their long-standing commitment to one another, nor the financial burden and stress that can come from this tax in an already emotional and stressful time.

The legislation would also require the surviving domestic partner to provide a signed partnership affidavit and two other documents proving joint financial liability or responsibility on a number of different items, including but not limited to mortgages, loans, insurance policies, investments and bank accounts.

Introduced as SB646