33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes

Even with the federal exemption from death taxes raised, retirees should pay more attention to estate taxes and inheritance taxes levied by states.

picture of a note saying "nothing is certain but death and taxes"
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 2017 tax reform law raised the federal estate tax exemption considerably. Before that law was enacted, the exemption was $5.49 million per person for decedents who died in 2017. It's up to $12.92 million for people who die in 2023 ($25.84 million for a married couple). So, now, even fewer taxpayers have to worry about federal estate taxes when they pass away. However, if your goal is to leave as much as you can to your heirs, then you should also pay attention to the state you choose for retirement.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia levy their own estate taxes, sometimes called "death taxes," and some have much lower thresholds than the federal government. In addition, six states have inheritance taxes. Maryland, whose nickname is the Free State, has both.

The good news for retirees focused on estate planning: There are 33 states that have neither estate taxes nor inheritance taxes. Take a look to see if your state is on the list (and also check out some other tax facts for the listed states that might be of interest to you).


[Note: Income tax brackets are for the 2022 tax year, unless otherwise noted. Average combined state and local sales tax values are for 2022 and were compiled by the Tax Foundation. Property tax data is from 2021 and is based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau.]

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.