Inheritance Tax for Pennsylvania Residents

About the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax 
The tax rate for Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is 4.5% for transfers to direct descendants (lineal heirs), 12% for transfers to siblings, and 15% for transfers to other heirs (except charitable organizations, exempt institutions, and government entities that are exempt from tax). Property owned jointly between husband and wife is exempt from inheritance tax, while property inherited from a spouse, or from a child aged 21 or younger by a parent, is taxed a rate of 0%.

Inheritance tax returns are due nine calendar months after a person’s death. The responsible party is the person named in the will as executor or, if the person dies without a will, the individual who is approved as administrator by the register of wills after a petition is filed. If no executor or administrator is named, and property or transfers exist, then the person receiving the property is required to file a return and pay the tax.

Inheritance Tax Rates for a Surviving Spouse

The rate of tax imposed on transfers to or for a surviving spouse are based on the date of death of the decedent as follows:

Date of DeathTax Rate
On or after January 1, 19950%
After June 30, 1994 and before January 1, 19953%
Before July 1, 19946%

Property Subject to Inheritance Tax
All real property and all tangible personal property of a resident decedent, including but not limited to cash, automobiles, furniture, antiques, jewelry, etc., located in Pennsylvania at the time of the decedent’s death is taxable. All intangible property of a resident decedent, including stocks, bonds, bank accounts, loans receivable, etc., is also taxable regardless of where it is located at the time of the decedent’s death.

In the case of a nonresident decedent, all real property and tangible personal property located in Pennsylvania at the time of the decedent’s death is taxable. Intangible personal property of a nonresident decedent is not taxable.

Jointly owned property with right of survivorship, except between husband and wife, including but not limited to real estate, securities, bank accounts, etc., is taxable to the extent of the decedent’s fractional interest in the joint property (calculated by dividing the value of the joint property by the number of joint owners at the time of the decedent’s death). Joint property is taxable even though the decedent’s name was added as a matter of convenience. Further, if the decedent created the joint interest in the property within a year of his/her death, the full value of the property is taxable in the decedent’s estate.

Filing the Inheritance Tax Return 
If the decedent was a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the time of his/her death, the Inheritance Tax return is to be filed in duplicate with the Register of Wills in the county where the decedent was a resident at the time of his/her death.

If the decedent was a not a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and had property located within Pennsylvania, the inheritance tax return along with any payments due shall not be filed with the register of wills, but with the nonresident tax unit of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Attention: John Reidman.

For additional information, call (717) 787-8327 or write to the Inheritance Tax Division at:

Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
Bureau of Individual taxes
Dept. 280601
Harrisburg, PA 17128-0601


The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is striving to serve you better by offering a variety of ways to get information.

Call or visit the department’s district office nearest you, which is listed in the blue pages of your telephone directory.