Wedding cakeCouples in same-sex marriages are entitled to the same favorable tax treatment as other married couples, for purposes of inheritance and transfer tax in Pennsylvania, according to a bulletin issued by the Department of Revenue.

The bulletin implements last year’s court decision (Whitewood v. Wolf) that legalized same-sex marriages in the state.

Under Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax, a surviving spouse inherits at the rate of 0%. Prior to the recognition of same-sex marriage, a spouse of the same gender would have paid inheritance tax at the rate of 15%.

Similarly, natural and adopted children inherit at the rate of 4.5%. The bulletin provides that “a natural or adopted child of any individual and that individual’s spouse shall be considered a lineal heir for purpose of establishing tax rates.” They, too, would have paid a rate of 15% before the change.

The bulletin also recognizes same-sex couples and their children for exemption from real estate transfer tax.

Those who have paid taxes at the rates applicable before the change can apply for a refund, but certain time limits apply.


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