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Connecticut estate tax

There is an estate tax in Connecticut. It is progressive, and tax rates range from 7.8% to 12%. If you’re a resident of Connecticut and thinking about planning your estate, this guide will explain what you need to know about the estate tax to make sure your affairs are in order when you pass away. If the estate tax may apply to you, consider finding a financial advisor to guide you through the estate planning process. SmartAsset can help you find an advisor with our free financial advisor matching service.

Connecticut Estate Tax Exemption

Connecticut is one of 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, that imposes an estate tax. While the vast majority of families aren’t affected by the federal estate tax (because of how high the exemption is), Connecticut’s estate tax affects a greater proportion of estates. For estates of people who died in 2019, an estate won’t have to file a Connecticut estate tax return if the value of the estate is less than $3.6 million. For estates of people who die in 2020, the estate won’t have to file a state estate tax return if the estate is worth less than $5.1 million. The estate tax is due within six months of the estate owner’s death, though a six-month extension may be requested.

The estate tax rate is progressive and payable on the value of the entire taxable estate. The tax rate ranges from 7.8 percent to 12 percent. Finally, Connecticut caps the total amount of an estate tax at $15 million.

Connecticut Estate Tax Rate

Connecticut estate tax

Connecticut’s estate tax is progressive, with a series of increasing rates applying as the value of the estate gets higher. You can find your taxable estate bracket in the chart below for 2019.

CONNECTICUT ESTATE TAX RATES FOR 2019
If the Taxable Estate Is: The Estate Tax Would Be:
Not over $3.6 million $0
Over $3.6 million but not over $4.1 million 7.8% of excess over $3.6 million
Over $4.1 million but not over $5.1 million $39,000 + 8.4% of excess over $4.1 million
Over $5.1 million but not over $6.1 million $123,000 + 10% of excess over $5.1 million
Over $6.1 million but not over $7.1 million $223,000 + 10.4% of excess over $6.1 million
Over $7.1 million but not over $8.1 million $327,000 + 10.8% of excess over $7.1 million
Over $8.1 million but not over $9.1 million $435,000 + 11.2% of excess over $8.1 million
Over $9.1 million but not over $10.1 million $547,000 + 11.6% of excess over $9.1 million
Over $10.1 million $663,000 + 12% of excess over $10.1 million

What Is the Estate Tax?

The estate tax is a tax applied to an estate after a person dies but before the person’s money gets passed on to heirs. It is sometimes called the “death tax.” Only estates that reach a certain threshold are subject to the estate tax.

The estate tax is not the same as the inheritance tax, which is levied after the estate is dispersed to a person’s beneficiaries. While the estate tax is taken out of the estate, the beneficiaries are responsible for paying the inheritance tax.

Connecticut Inheritance Tax

There is no inheritance tax in Connecticut. However, another state’s inheritance tax may apply to you if your grantor lived in a state that has an inheritance tax. In Kentucky, for instance, the inheritance tax applies to all in-state property, even if the inheritor lives in another state. If someone who lives out-of-state leaves you something, make sure to check the local laws in your grantor’s state to see if you owe inheritance tax.

Connecticut Gift Tax

Connecticut is the only state in the union that levies its own gift tax. It has a $2.60 million lifetime exemption, which will increase to $3.60 million in 2019. In 2020, the state will change its exemption to match the federal gift tax exemption of $11.18 million. You must file gifts over $10,000.

Connecticut Estate Tax for Married Couples

Connecticut does not have portability for spouses. When the second spouse of a married couple dies, only one exemption applies.

Federal Estate Tax

There is a federal estate tax that may apply on top of the Connecticut estate tax, but it has a higher exemption level of $11.18 million. This exemption is portable between spouses. This means a couple can protect up to $22.36 million with proper legal steps.

The top tax rate for the federal estate tax is 40%. Using the same method described above, you can find your federal estate tax burden within the table below.

FEDERAL ESTATE TAX RATES
Taxable Estate* Base Taxes Paid Marginal Rate Rate Threshold**
$1 – $10,000 $0 18% $1
$10,000 – $20,000 $1,800 20% $10,000
$20,000 – $40,000 $3,800 22% $20,000
$40,000 – $60,000 $8,200 24% $40,000
$60,000 – $80,000 $13,000 26% $60,000
$80,000 – $100,000 $18,200 28% $80,000
$100,000 – $150,000 $23,800 30% $100,000
$150,000 – $250,000 $38,800 32% $150,000
$250,000 – $500,000 $70,800 34% $250,000
$500,000 – $750,000 $155,800 37% $500,000
$750,000 – $1 million $248,300 39% $750,000
Over $1 million $345,800 40% $1 million

*The taxable estate is the total above the exemption of $11.18 million.
**The rate threshold is the point at which the marginal estate tax rate kicks in.

Overall Connecticut Tax Picture

Connecticut estate tax

Connecticut is not tax-friendly for retirees. In fact, it ranks among the least tax-friendly states in the country for those in their golden years. The state fully taxes withdrawals from retirement accounts, like IRA or 401(k) plans, as well as payments from private or public pension plans. It also taxes Social Security. However, seniors who have an adjusted gross income below $50,000 ($60,000 for joint filers and heads of household) are exempt from Social Security taxes. Connecticut’s income tax rate ranges from 3.00% to 6.99%.

The average property tax rate in Connecticut is 2.02%, the fourth highest in the country. That said, seniors age 65 and over who own and occupy a Connecticut home are eligible for a property tax circuit breaker of up to $1,250 for married couples or $1,000 for individuals. That is provided their income is less than a certain amount ($43,000 for married couples and $35,300 for singles).

Sales tax is 6.35% throughout Connecticut. There are no local sales taxes.

Estate Planning Tips

  • Confused, or have some lingering questions? A financial advisor can help you figure everything out. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service can help you find an advisor who meets your needs. You answer a few questions and we match you with up to three advisors in your area, all fully vetted and free of disclosures. Your advisor matches will get in touch so you can see if one of them is a good fit for you.
  • When planning your estate, make sure you name a guardian for your kids. Not doing so happens to be a common estate planning mistake. Thinking about this isn’t fun, but it beats not having a plan if something were to happen.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Lady-Photo, ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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