Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, November 1, 2013

Inheritance Taxes on Same-Sex Couples Challenged in Pennsylvania

Gay penn

Two women are challenging a Pennsylvania policy to not cover same-sex couples under the inheritance tax waiver.

Pennsylvania does not impose an inheritance tax for transfers to surviving spouses.  Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax rate is 4.5% on transfers to direct descendants, 12% on transfers to siblings, and 15% for all others.

Barbara Alma Baus married Catherine Burgi-Rios in Connecticut in 2011.  Baus believes she should not have to pay the 15% levy on Burgi-Rois’ estate, which amounts to a $11,000 tax bill.  She says “Pennsylvania is essentially nullifying the marriage and taxing [her] as though she didn’t even know her spouse or have a financial relationship with her." 

In a separate case, Nancy Dixon is seeking to overturn a $21,000 tax bill on her partner’s estate.  Dixon and her partner were together since 1981 but never married in a state permitting same-sex unions. 

See Mark Scolforo, Death Taxes Become Pa. Gay Marriage Battle Front, Centre Daily Times, Oct. 28, 2013.


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