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What is your estate tax obligation in Florida?

As you become involved in estate planning in Miami, you may begin to see more and more references being made to estate taxes. Most often, this is in reference to the federal estate tax, which you only pay if the taxable value of your estate exceeds the federal threshold (currently $5.49 million per Forbes Magazine). Yet were you aware that individual states can also levy their own estate tax?

Prior to January 1, 2005, you may have owed a state estate tax in Florida if you (or your loved one) were either a resident or owned real estate or other tangible property here. However, according to the Florida Department of Revenue, this estate tax obligation was often referred to as a "pick up" tax, in that whatever you or your family member may have owed was typically picked up by the state estate tax credit allowed for on the federal estate tax return. That credit was eventually phased out and replaced by a deduction, effectively eliminating Florida's estate tax.

You (or, in the case of your own estate, your personal representative) may still have certain state tax obligations related to your estate, however. Even though the state no longer collects an estate tax, an automatic tax lien may be imposed on property upon yours or your loved one's death. If you or your personal representative must file a federal estate tax return, then a Florida Form DR-313 must also be filed with the probate court and well as any county in which you or your loved one owned property. If no federal estate tax return is required, then the state form that must be filed is a DR-312. In either case, this allows you or your personal representative to dispose of estate property without worrying about encountering liens against titles. 

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