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Montana Estate Tax


Montana does not have an estate tax. Montanans may still have to pay the federal estate tax, though, if the value of their estate is high enough. This guide takes Big Sky Country residents through what they need to know about the estate tax and other taxes that may factor into the estate planning process. If you think you’d like a financial advisor to help you with estate planning, consider finding one using SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool.

Montana Estate Tax

Montana does not levy an estate tax. It is one of 38 states without an estate tax.

What Is the Estate Tax?

The estate tax applies to estates of people who have recently died. The estate tax applies before the assets in an estate are passed on to a person’s designated heirs. It is sometimes called the “death tax,” and it only applies to estates that reach a certain threshold. This threshold is legally determined by the state or other entity levying the tax.

The inheritance tax is different from the estate tax. Inheritance tax applies to inherited assets after distribution to beneficiaries.

Montana Inheritance and Gift Tax

Montana Estate Tax

Montana also has no inheritance tax. Be careful, though: You may owe inheritance taxes in another state if someone living in a state with an inheritance tax leaves you property or assets. In Kentucky, for instance, there is an inheritance tax law that applies to all property located in the state, even if the beneficiary lives in another state. Make sure to check local laws whenever you receive an inheritance from someone who lives in different state to avoid accidentally missing a tax bill.

Montana does not have a gift tax either. There is a $18,000 exemption per recipient for the federal gift tax in 2024, up from $17,000 in 2023. If you give more than $18,000 to a single person in a year, though, you must report the gift to the IRS. The amount over the exemption counts towards your $13.61 million lifetime gift tax exemption and lowers your federal estate tax exemption.

Federal Estate Tax

Though Montana won’t tax your estate, the federal government may if it is worth enough. The exemption for the federal estate tax is $13.61 million in 2024, up from $12.92 million in 2023. The federal exemption is portable, so a married couple who takes the right legal steps can protect up to $27.22 million of their estate when they both die.

Estates exceeding the exemption are taxed according to an ascending series of rates, which top out at 40%.

Here’s how it works: Consider an estate worth $14.43 million. Subtract the $13.61 million exemption, which leaves you with a taxable estate of $820,000. That puts you in the second-highest tax bracket. You’ll owe a base payment of $248,300 on the first $750,000. You also must pay a 39% tax on the $70,000 in the tax bracket, which totals $27,300. Add that to the base rate and you get a total estate tax burden of $275,600.

Federal Estate Tax Rates

Taxable Estate*Base Taxes PaidMarginal RateRate Threshold**
$1 – $10,000$018%$1
$10,000 – $20,000$1,80020%$10,000
$20,000 – $40,000$3,80022%$20,000
$40,000 – $60,000$8,20024%$40,000
$60,000 – $80,000$13,00026%$60,000
$80,000 – $100,000$18,20028%$80,000
$100,000 – $150,000$23,80030%$100,000
$150,000 – $250,000$38,80032%$150,000
$250,000 – $500,000$70,80034%$250,000
$500,000 – $750,000$155,80037%$500,000
$750,000 – $1 million$248,30039%$750,000
Over $1 million$345,80040%$1 million

*The taxable estate is the total above the 2024 federal exemption of $13.61 million.
**The rate threshold is the point at which the marginal estate tax rate kicks in.

Overall Montana Tax Picture

Montana Estate Tax

Montana is moderately tax-friendly for retirees. The state fully taxes both withdrawals from retirement accounts, including 401(k) plans, and income from public and private pensions. Montana taxes these forms of retirement income at its income tax rates, which range from 1% to 6.75%. Montana only partially taxes Social Security benefits.

Montana’s average effective property tax rate is 0.83%, which is on the low end compared to other states across the nation. The state has no sales tax.

Estate Planning Tips

  • If you think you need help with estate planning, the services of a financial advisor could be helpful. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • One common estate planning mistake is thinking you’re too young to start planning. Even if you have many years of life left, it can’t hurt to have a plan in case something tragic happens.

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