In Pennsylvania, there is no inheritance tax on property itself but rather on the privilege of receiving property from a decedent. The tax rate is 0% on transfers to spouses and charities, 4.5% on transfers to "lineal" descendants (parents, grandparents, children, sons and daughters-in-law), 12% for brothers and sisters of the decedent, and 15% on transfers to any other person.
A discount of 5% of tax due is allowed for whatever portion of the tax is paid within three (3) months of the decedent's death.
The return and "inheritance" tax payment are due within nine (9) months unless an extension of time for filing has been granted by the PA Department of Revenue.
The Register of Wills serves as an agent for the Commonwealth in the collection of state inheritance taxes. The return is filed with the Register who granted letters. Your inheritance tax check is made payable to "Register of Wills, Agent."
Properties jointly held by husband and wife are considered non-probate assets in which no inheritance tax is imposed on the surviving spouse. Jointly-held assets with individual(s) other than a spouse are generally subject to tax.
This information has been made available to you as a public service by the Berks County Register of Wills' office. Responses are general and individual facts in a specific case may alter routine procedures or involve other laws not referred to here.