Prior to 2018, all NJ estates in excess of two million dollars were subject to the NJ estate tax. As of Jan. 1, 2018, NJ repealed its long-standing estate tax. Even out-of staters with beach houses no longer are subject to the NJ estate tax.
When Aunt Em passed away, you as the favorite niece expect to inherit without any NJ death tax. Not so fast, the wicked witch is still not dead.
New Jersey imposes two death taxes- the estate tax and the inheritance tax. The inheritance tax in NJ is alive and kicking. This tax has different rates depending on who the beneficiaries are.
Is anyone exempt from this inheritance tax? Immediate family members, who are Class A beneficiaries, can inherit without paying the tax. Class A beneficiaries include spouses, parents, grandparents and descendants- children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the deceased.
What are the rates? For assets passing to Class C beneficiaries the rate is 11% to 16% for amounts in excess of $25,000. This class of beneficiaries includes siblings, and the spouse, widow or widower of a child of the decedent. For assets passing to all other beneficiaries (Class D beneficiaries-nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers-in-law, cousins, etc.) the inheritance tax rate is 15% to 16%.
Any surprise situations? Frequently there are unusual situations which unexpectedly trigger the NJ Inheritance Tax. Uncle Henry, a widower, leaves all his assets to his children. No NJ Inheritance tax- right? Read the Will carefully. Henry had been living with his girlfriend in recent years and left her the right to remain in his home for two years after his passing. This right to live in the home is called a life estate. It is an asset subject to NJ inheritance tax in this case because the recipient, his girlfriend, is a Class D beneficiary.
Grandpa Zeke was widowed and remarried. He leaves all his assets to his grandchildren and to the grandchildren of his second wife. Step-children are Class A beneficiaries and exempt from the inheritance tax. However, step-grandchildren are not Class A beneficiaries but rather Class D and subject to the tax.
How is the tax paid? The NJ Inheritance Tax Return, Form IT-R for residents or Form IT-NR for non-residents, must be filed with the state and the tax paid within eight months after the decedent’s date of death. The state automatically places liens against a decedent’s property until inheritance taxes are paid, or it is established that the recipient of the property is exempt.
Need estate tax planning? We work with many qualified estate tax attorneys who are wizards in estate taxation and can assist you in estate planning. Our CPA firm prepares NJ Inheritance Tax Returns and assists executors in filing timely and paying the lowest tax possible.