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Julie Garber

Estate Taxes by State - Does Wisconsin Have an Estate Tax?

By February 27, 2010

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Does Wisconsin have an estate tax? The answer is no, currently Wisconsin does not collect a state estate tax, although things were different a few years ago before major changes took effect with regard to federal estate tax laws. Prior to January 1, 2005, Wisconsin, like many other states, collected a separate state estate tax, called a "pick up tax," that was actually equal to a portion of the overall federal estate tax bill.

On January 1, 2005, the pick up tax was officially phased out under the provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act ("EGTRRA"). In response, Wisconsin enacted a law that allowed for the Wisconsin estate tax to still be collected but that law expired on January 1, 2008, therefore Wisconsin no longer collects a state estate tax.

One thing to keep in mind is that the federal estate tax and the pick up tax (and therefore the Wisconsin estate tax) are scheduled to come back on January 1, 2011, due to the sunset of EGTRRA, but at this point no one really knows what will happen with the federal estate tax in 2010 let alone in 2011 and beyond.

2011 Update: On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2010 (TRA 2010) into law, which overrode the provisions of EGTRRA with regard to estate taxes. As a result of this new law, the pick up tax was not reinstated, and so Wisconsin will not collect a state estate tax for the 2011 and 2012 tax years. Nonetheless, the provisions of TRA 2010 are set to sunset on December 31, 2012, in which case the pick up tax, as well as the Wisconsin estate tax, will return on January 1, 2013. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

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