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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 4, 2014 02:41 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Elimination of the "Death Tax"
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 61 of last session, which would completely phase out the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, otherwise known as the "death tax."

In 1826, Pennsylvania became the first state to adopt a tax based upon someone's death. Pennsylvania remains one of only six states that still impose an inheritance tax. Of those six states, Tennessee is eliminating its inheritance tax in 2016. These death taxes are particularly harmful to small businesses and impose a double-tax on all estates.

My legislation would phase out the inheritance tax over a number of years as follows:
  • The current tax rate of 4.5% for direct descendants (children) would be reduced to 2% in 2015 and completely phased out by 2016.
  • The current tax of 12% for siblings would be reduced by 3% a year until 2017, when it is completely phased out.
  • The current tax rate of 15% for all other heirs would be reduced by 3% a year until 2020, when it is completely phased out.
Co-sponsors of SB 61 included Vogel, Mensch, Fontana, Rafferty, Tartaglione, Greenleaf, Brewster, Boscola, Vulakovich, Hutchinson, White, Costa, Folmer, Baker, Eichelberger, McIlhinney and Yaw.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 717-787-6063.

Introduced as SB331