Begin Main Content Area

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax is imposed as a percentage of the value of a decedent's estate transferred to beneficiaries by will, heirs by intestacy and transferees by operation of law. The tax rate varies depending on the relationship of the heir to the decedent.

The rates for Pennsylvania inheritance tax are as follows:

  • 0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child aged 21 or younger;
  • 4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs;
  • 12 percent on transfers to siblings; and
  • 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax.

Property owned jointly between spouses is exempt from inheritance tax.

Effective for estates of decedents dying after June 30, 2012, certain farm land and other agricultural property are exempt from Pennsylvania inheritance tax, provided the property is transferred to eligible recipients. For more information about the exemptions and related requirements, please review Inheritance Tax Informational Notice 2012-01.

Effective for estates of decedents dying on or after September 6, 2022, personal property that is transferred from the estate of a serving military member who has died as a result of an injury or illness received while on active duty in the armed forces, a reserve component or the National Guard, is exempt from inheritance tax. 

Inheritance tax payments are due upon the death of the decedent and become delinquent nine months after the individual's death. If inheritance tax is paid within three months of the decedent's death, a 5 percent discount is allowed.

For further information and answers to commonly asked questions, please review the brochure, Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax and Safe Deposit Boxes.

For detailed and historic Pennsylvania inheritance tax information, please review the Tax Compendium.