For 2013, only estates worth more than $5.25 million will owe federal estate taxes. But New York residents, and non-residents owning property in New York, may be surprised to learn that the State of New York imposes estate taxes on much smaller estates — those worth $1 million or more. Given that current median home values in Staten Island approach $500,000, even a Staten Island homeowner who thinks of him or herself as middle class may have an estate of $1 million. Even if you won’t owe any federal estate tax, your executor may have to file a New York State estate tax return, and pay estate taxes to the State of New York. A New York elder law attorney can help you plan to avoid or minimize these taxes in the most effective way.
The good news is that New York State estate tax rates are much lower than federal estate tax rates, ranging from 5 to 16 percent, while the highest federal estate tax rate is now 55 percent.
Who must file a New York State estate tax return?
The executor is responsible for filing a New York State estate tax return for any deceased person who:
- Has a gross estate of $1 million or more AND was EITHER
- A resident of New York at death OR
- A U.S. resident or citizen (but not a New York State resident) who owned property located in New York