The federal estate tax, often referred to as the death tax, has long been one of the most controversial taxes in the nation. Several states also carry an estate tax on top of the federal portion. Recently more and more states have been moving away from this tax, including New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Indiana.
You can now count Delaware among those states that are putting the estate tax to rest. Despite a large budget deficit, the state just voted to repeal the estate tax beginning January 1 of next year. Democratic governor Jack Markell originally put the estate tax in place in 2009 to help fund the state’s budget.
Despite that move, lawmakers, including the current governor, and many estate-planning attorneys realized that the plan failed to generate significant revenue. In fact, they are concerned that it might have the opposite effect. Lawmakers realized that they were losing more money from lost income tax from people who were moving out of the state than they were gaining via the estate tax.
Thus, to discourage wealthy residents from relocating from Delaware, legislators have decided to repeal the tax completely. With Delaware’s decision to repeal, the number of states with an estate, inheritance tax, or both will decrease to just 17 in 2018, plus the District of Columbia.