December 11, 2000 - Columbus, Ohio
- Bureaucracy Reduced in Estate Tax
Ohio Tax Commissioner Thomas Zaino has taken three more steps
to reduce bureaucracy and save Ohio citizens and the
Department of Taxation time, money and aggravation.
These steps are all in the administration of estate taxes.
Currently, the taxation department requires financial
institutions to freeze accounts of more than $2,500 of a
person who dies, pending the presentation of a tax release
form. As of January 1, 2001 the threshold is raised to
$25,000. This will eliminate 75 percent of the 300,000
releases currently obtained each year.
Today, a financial institution must deny access to a safe
deposit box upon the death of its owner until the county
auditor has inventoried it.
"We are eliminating that requirement altogether because we
have found that most safe deposit boxes are empty when they
are inventoried anyway," Zaino said. This will eliminate
about 11,000 inventories of safe deposit boxes annually.
The final change relates to the request for extending the
deadline to file an estate tax return. Previously, estate tax
returns were required to be filed within nine months of the
decedent’s death date, and anyone requesting a six-month
extension needed to file a form requesting the extension.
"Since all of the requests were granted anyway, we eliminated
the requirement that a formal written request be filed for
the first six month extension," Zaino said. That means
estates will have a total of 15 months to file the return.
This relieves estates from the burden of filing about 3,000
forms per year. A request will have to be filed and good
cause shown for additional six-month extensions. This change
is available to all estates with dates of death after Jan. 1,
"These changes are part of our on-going commitment to
eliminate needless and inefficient steps in the way we
administer taxes," Zaino said. Employees of the department’s
estate tax division recommended the changes.
Zaino is able to make the procedural changes outlined above
by virtue of his position as tax commissioner, which also
makes him the administrator of the Ohio Department of
In other developments in estate taxes in Ohio, tax credits
increase on Jan. 1, 2001 and again on Jan. 1, 2002 due to
legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed
into law by Gov. Bob Taft last summer.
For estates with a death date on or after Jan. 1, 2001, no
estate tax return will be required to be filed if the gross
estate is $200,000 or less. For estates with dates of death
on or after Jan. 1, 2002, no estate tax return will be
required to be filed if the gross estate is $338,333 or less.
New legislation also permits a reduction in estate taxes for
qualified family-owned businesses.
The Ohio Department of Taxation’s Estate Tax Division has
processed about 55,000 estate tax returns this year.
For more information contact:
Gary Gudmundson, Communications Director
Ohio Department of Taxation