Tax Insights

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

How many people really file estate tax returns?

In the recent Pub 5332, the IRS has released statistics about those taxpayers in the U.S. who have filed estate tax returns over the past ten years. Estate tax returns, also known as Form 706, must be filed by decedents who are recipients of a “gross estate” at death over a certain filing threshold. For 2021 this threshold is $11.7 million. These returns are due within nine months of date of death (or 15 months with extension).

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In 2019, a total of 6,409 returns were filed with a combined net estate tax of just over $13.2 billion. This is a decline of about 60% from the 15,191 tax returns that were filed in 2010. The highest number of returns were filed by residents of California, followed by Florida, New York, Texas and Illinois. However, the most estate tax returns filed per 100,000 adult residents were filed by those from Wyoming, District of Columbia, Florida, California and South Dakota.

The IRS also released information on the asset composition of those filing returns. More than half of all assets reported were made up of stock and real estate. And for those decedents with total assets over $20 million, a greater share of their portfolio was held in stock as opposed to real estate, pension and 401(k)s than decedents with assets totaling less than $20 million.

Have questions? Reach out to your Henry+Horne tax professional today!

Haley Braun, CPA