Is Inheritance Taxable In California?

What Is Inheritance Tax, And Does It Apply In California?

There is no inheritance tax in California. Many state inheritance taxes were phased out when the federal government enacted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act—California was one of them.


Furthermore, new legislation in California must be approved by a majority of the state's residents. As a result, since 2005, California has had no inheritance tax regulations.


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However, federal income tax legislation continues to apply, even though, as previously indicated, California did not have a state income tax in 2019. In addition, the California legislature recently attempted to pass legislation that would have reinstated the California estate tax. Instead, it imposed a new gift and generation-skipping tax on California residents beginning January 1, 2021.

What's The Difference Between Inheritance Tax And Estate Tax?

Many people confuse an estate tax with an inheritance tax since the two are seemingly the same. However, the most crucial distinction between the two taxes is who pays the tax:

  • When an estate tax is applied, the person who owns the estate is the one who pays the tax.

  • In an inheritance tax, the person who inherits the property is responsible for paying the tax.

To summarize, an estate owner is in charge of paying the estate tax, while the person inheriting is in charge of paying the inheritance tax.


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There is another distinction between an inheritance tax and an estate tax. Both determine the fair market worth of a deceased person's property as of the date of death, which is usually the day of death. However, here's how they differ:

  • An estate tax is levied on the estate before its assets are distributed.

  • An inheritance tax is levied on beneficiaries as they receive assets.

If you need someone to address your concerns about estate and inheritance, contact a California Estate Attorney to help you. A lawyer will be able to answer your important questions, help you file the right documents, and protect your rights.

Do You Need To Pay Upon Claiming Your Inheritance?


An estate tax is based on the total value of a deceased person's money and property. It is deducted from the decedent's assets before any transfer to beneficiaries.

As previously stated, the estate tax is a federal tax imposed on transferring an estate's assets before they are distributed. Only estates valued at more than $11.58 million are subject to the federal estate tax.

Inheritance tax is a tax that is levied on an asset that you receive as a gift. Any debts owed by the estate will be paid by the estate before any inherited assets are distributed.


On the other hand, on the federal level, the portion of an estate over $11.4 million is subject to a 40% federal estate tax. One of the advantages of an estate tax is that it is collected before the legacy is distributed, so you will not have to worry about it. The value of the assets you receive from someone's estate is used to calculate the inheritance tax, which means that you, the person inheriting, would be liable for paying it if it applied.


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Bottom-line

While inheritance is not taxable in California, estate taxes are still in effect under federal law. However, estate taxes are paid before the estate is distributed as an inheritance.


So if you're a beneficiary, you don't have to worry about taxes. However, if you are the one who owns the estate, you still have to pay taxes before transferring assets.