Estate tax

For purposes of New York State estate tax, the gross estate includes all property that a person owned, had control over, or had an interest in on the date of his or her death.

Filing requirements

  • An estate is required to file a New York State estate tax return if the total of the federal gross estate plus the federal adjusted taxable gifts and specific exemption exceeds $1 million, and the individual was either:
    • a resident of the state at the time of death; or
    • a resident or citizen of the U.S. at the time of death but not a resident of the state, whose estate includes real or tangible personal property located in the state.
  • For an individual who was not a resident or citizen of the U.S. at the time of death, the estate must file a New York State estate tax return if the estate includes real or tangible personal property located in the state and the gross estate located in the U.S. exceeds the filing limit. The filing limit is $60,000 reduced by the sum of:
    • the gift tax specific exemption applicable to certain gifts made in 1976, and
    • the total taxable gifts made after 1976 that are not included in the gross estate.

When to file and pay

  • Estates must file and pay the tax using Form ET-706, New York State Estate Tax Return, within 9 months after the decedent's date of death.
  • Estates must submit a completed Federal Form 706, United States Estate Tax Return with the NYS estate tax return, even if the estate is not required to file a federal estate tax return with the IRS.  
  • Estates may apply for an extension of time to file the return and/or pay the tax using Form ET-133, Application for Extension of Time to File and/or Pay Estate Tax. An extension of time to file generally may not exceed six months. In addition, an extension of time to pay may be granted for up to four years in cases where payment within 9 months of death results in undue hardship to the estate. In either case, interest will be due.  
  • Penalties may apply for late filing or payment.

Tax rates

New York's estate tax is calculated by using a graduated rate schedule. Form ET-706 lists the complete rate schedule. For additional information, see Form ET-706-I, Instructions for Form ET‑706 New York State Estate Tax Return.

Waivers and releases

When authorization is required for the release of personal property, it is usually referred to as an estate tax waiver or a consent to transfer. New York State doesn't require waivers for estates of anyone who died on or after February 1, 2000.  For details, see Publication 603, Estate Tax Waivers.

Authorization to transfer real property is referred to as a release of lien.

A waiver of citation is used for an estate to get court approval for a specific action and must be approved by the Tax Department. See Form AU-67, Instructions to Request a Waiver of Citation and Consent.

Other information you may need to provide

  • Copies of the death certificate
  • Copies of the decedent's will and/or relevant trusts
  • Copies of appraisals
  • Letters of appointment for executors or administrators
  • Copies of relevant documents regarding litigation involving the estate
  • Documentation of any unusual items shown on the return (partially included assets, losses, near date of death transfers, others)

Closing letter

A closing letter is provided by the New York State Tax Department to certify no tax is due or to serve as a final receipt for the tax due. It is received after all processing is completed and should be kept as a permanent record. Most closing letters will take about 4-6 months from the time of filing. However, returns that contain errors or have special circumstances may take longer.

Marriage Equality Act

This new law took effect on July 24,2011. Learn how the Marriage Equality Act applies to taxes administrated by this department.

Estate tax forms and instructions (current year) or (prior years and periods)

Updated: February 28, 2013