Does Kansas Collect an Estate Tax?
Currently, Kansas does not collect an estate tax at the state level. Also, Kansas no longer collects a state inheritance tax as it was abolished effective July 1, 1998.
A few years ago, things were different before significant changes took effect with regard to federal estate tax laws. What do federal estate tax laws have to do with Kansas estate taxes? Before January 1, 2005, Kansas did collect a separate estate tax at the state level, called a "pick up tax," that was equal to a portion of the overall federal estate tax bill.
Pick up Tax Law Existed Prior to 2005
The "pick up tax" is a state estate tax that is collected based on the state estate tax credit that the IRS allowed on the federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706, prior to January 1, 2005. Each state had different tax laws with regard to the pick-up tax, so the amount that a state would collect varied based on that state's estate tax laws. In essence, however, the overall estate tax bill was not increased or decreased due to the pick-up tax. Instead, the total tax bill was apportioned between the IRS and state taxing authority.
So what does this mean in plain English? It means that a portion of the federal estate tax was taken away from the IRS and instead paid to the decedent's state taxing authority. As such, before January 1, 2005, if a deceased Kansas resident owed federal estate taxes, then the Kansas Department of Revenue collected the pick up tax from the deceased Kansas resident's estate.
The Future of the Kansas Estate Tax
Effective January 1, 2005, the pick up tax was officially phased out under the provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act ("EGTRRA"). In response to these changes in federal law that phased out the pick-up tax, some states that used to collect a pick-up tax chose to enact laws that allow the state to collect a state estate tax still. It is referred to as "decoupling" since the states that enacted a state estate tax no longer based their state estate tax laws on current federal estate tax laws.
The majority of states did absolutely nothing and therefore no longer collect a state estate tax. Kansas was among the minority and did enact a separate state estate tax but then ended up repealing it effective January 1, 2010.
In addition, while under the provisions of EGTRRA the pick up tax was supposed to return in 2011, it didn't due to the enactment of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 ("TRUIRJCA"), which reinstated federal estate taxes but did not bring back the pick up tax.
Nonetheless, the provisions of TRUIRJCA were set to expire on December 31, 2012, which would have brought the pick-up tax back in 2013, but Congress and President Obama acted in early 2013 to pass the American Taxpayer Relief Act ("ATRA").
Under the provisions of ATRA, the rules governing federal estate taxes as set forth under TRUIRJCA were made permanent, which means that the pick-up tax was not resurrected in 2013 and will not come back in future years without further action by Congress. Thus, don't expect Kansas to begin collecting a state estate tax again any time soon.
The information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.