Estate Tax

Estate Tax Return
  • The County Auditor acts as an agent for the Tax Commissioner of Ohio and is responsible for auditing the lock boxes of decedents who resided in their county.
  • The monies collected from this source are distributed by law: 20% to the State of Ohio and 80% to the taxing district in which the decedent had resided or owned property.
How the Return in Determined
In Ohio, an Estate Tax return is filed within 9 months of a person's date of death. One copy is filed with the Probate Court and a second copy is filed with the County Auditor, as agent of the Ohio Tax Commissioner. The tax due is based on the net value of the decedent’s estate. This net value is based on the gross value minus the debts and administration expenses of the estate. The gross value is made up of all assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, personality, and such. The debts and administration expenses are made up of funeral costs, attorney and executor fees, outstanding bills in the name of the decedent, and such. Ohio allows an unlimited marital deduction that allows property to pass from one spouse to another without taxation. Ohio also allows a credit up to $13,900 on the taxes due. Taxes are paid at the Auditor’s office. It is strongly recommended that an attorney be retained to prepare this return.
  • Interest rates on late payments of estate tax and refunds made after the due date fluctuate annually.
  • For dates of death on or after January 1, 2001, an estate with gross assets valued at $200,000 or less is not required to file an Ohio estate tax return.
  • For dates of death on or after January 1, 2000 (not 2001), the tax commissioner has authorized an automatic, 6-month extension of time to file the Ohio Estate Tax Return. This permits estates to have a total of 15 months to file the return. This does not extend the 9 month payment requirement. Any payments made after 9 months from the date of death should be charged statutory interest.
  • The monies collected from the estate tax are distributed by law, 36% to the State of Ohio and 64% to the taxing district (City, Township or Village) in which the decedent had resided and/or owned real property. For dates of death on or after January 1, 2001, the distribution is 70% to the municipality and 30% to the State of Ohio and for dates of death after January 1, 2002, the distribution is 80% to the municipality and 20% to the State of Ohio.
Consent to Transfer Property for Estates
The Auditor also issues Consent to Transfer Property (Tax Releases) for Estates. These releases serve two purposes. First, it notifies the financial institution that it may transfer ownership of the asset. Second, it notifies the Department of Taxation that the estate and asset exist and that an estate tax return may be necessary.
  • Beginning January 1, 2001, regardless of the decedent's date of death, Applications for Consent to Transfer Property of a Resident or Non-Resident Decedent will not be required for assets equal to $25,000 or less per account.
  • Beginning January 1, 2001, regardless of the decedent's date of death, the tax commissioner no longer requires the inventory of a safe deposit box upon the death of the owner, co-owner or any other person having access to the box, with the exception of guardianship. This is not a statutory change but an administrative change permitted by virtue of the authority under Section 5731.29(G) ORC.
Important Information to All Practitioners Using Computer Generated Forms for Estate Tax
At a recent training seminar conducted by the The Ohio Department of Taxation, Estate Tax Division, the topic of computer generated forms was discussed.

Per the Department, only those forms that exactly match the forms prescribed by the Department are acceptable. If you are using computer generated forms, such as those prepared by Perfect Probate© or ProBATE Software Publishing Co.© , they must be sent to the Department for their approval.

If you have any further questions, you may contact the Estate Tax Division at 1-800-977-7711 or visit the Ohio Department of Taxation website for frequently asked questions.