PA Courts Don’t Recognize NJ Same Sex Civil Unions for Inheritance Tax

Does a marriage or civil union by a same-sex couple translate to the same rights in Pennsylvania, particularly for inheritance taxes? According to a recent article in Forbes magazine and a recent case in Pennsylvania, the answer is no.

Although more states have added civil unions or marriage for same sex couples in recent years, Pennsylvania has not and still has their own Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

For estate tax and inheritance tax purposes, that means you're treated in PA as not being married. If you're married in Pennsylvania, you can transfer all of your assets to your spouse inheritance tax free. However, if Pennsylvania doesn't recognize the marriage or civil union, the inheritance tax is 15% of the assets transferred. For a $1 Million estate, the difference between marriage recognition or not is $150,000!

Read the Forbes article here