Estate Tax Collections By State

December 16, 2010

A key component of the tax compromise bill being voted on today is the return of the estate tax. It’s a tax levied on the transfer of wealth from deceased persons to their heirs, and has a progressive structure: Most Americans are largely exempt because the tax only applies to wealth above a certain amount. This exemption has risen over time; during the most recent year in which the estate tax existed, 2009, it was $3.5 million, with a tax rate of 45% on wealth over the exemption.

The 2001 EGTRRA bill, the first large Bush tax cut, included a slow phase-out of the estate tax, so that in 2010 it would cease to exist entirely; it is set to return in 2011 along with the expiration of the rest of the Bush tax cuts, with at a rate of 55% over an exemption of $1,000,000. The compromise bill reduces the tax and raises the exemption considerably – 35% over an exemption of $5,000,000. This comparatively low tax (compared to the recent history of the estate tax) has become a sticking point with some more liberal House members and is something they may try to change before the final vote.

So who pays the estate tax? What parts of the country are most affected by it? Here is a table that ranks the 50 states based on federal estate tax collections per capita for the year 2009:

State Total Estate
Taxes Collected
(Thousands)
Per Capita Collections Rank
Connecticut $530,825 $150.88 1
Florida $2,712,161 $146.30 2
California $4,447,354 $120.32 3
District of Columbia* $71,504 $119.24 4
New York $1,956,392 $100.11 4
Arizona $628,316 $95.26 5
Missouri $555,025 $92.70 6
Wyoming $49,379 $90.73 7
Delaware $73,527 $83.07 8
Idaho $118,333 $76.55 9
New Hampshire $101,346 $76.51 10
Hawaii $96,490 $74.50 11
Virginia $534,547 $67.81 12
Massachusetts $441,458 $66.95 13
Louisiana $286,314 $63.74 14
Montana $59,929 $61.47 15
Illinois $780,250 $60.44 16
New Jersey $514,053 $59.03 17
Texas $1,411,624 $56.96 18
Washington $356,326 $53.47 19
Pennsylvania $623,711 $49.48 20
Wisconsin $272,134 $48.12 21
Nebraska $85,702 $47.70 22
Kansas $134,138 $47.59 23
Nevada $120,536 $45.60 24
Maine $59,868 $45.41 25
Colorado $226,344 $45.05 26
Maryland $251,588 $44.14 27
South Carolina $186,779 $40.95 28
Oklahoma $147,568 $40.02 29
Alabama $177,599 $37.72 30
Ohio $434,588 $37.65 31
Minnesota $197,229 $37.45 32
New Mexico $68,263 $33.97 33
Oregon $129,394 $33.82 34
South Dakota $27,462 $33.80 35
Georgia $330,248 $33.60 36
Iowa $95,098 $31.62 37
Indiana $196,117 $30.53 38
Arkansas $81,427 $28.18 39
Kentucky $120,297 $27.88 40
Vermont $16,847 $27.10 41
Mississippi $79,922 $27.07 42
North Dakota $17,333 $26.80 43
Tennessee $164,499 $26.13 44
Rhode Island $26,819 $25.46 45
North Carolina $237,410 $25.31 46
Alaska $17,154 $24.56 47
Michigan $222,530 $22.32 48
Utah $47,559 $17.08 49
West Virginia $17,153 $9.43 50

*DC is not included in the state rankings but is ranked as if it were a state.
Sources: IRS, U.S. Census Bureau


Related Articles