Killing Inheritance Tax May Help Business, Hurt State

HARRISBURG PA — Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax often is a difficult financial hardship for families with small farms and businesses, but eliminating it would force lawmakers to cut $800 million from programs in the state budget, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported Monday (Oct. 17, 2011).

The state imposes the inheritance tax on the transfer of real estate and personal property through a will or other arrangement. This past year, the state collected $805 million, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Intended to break up large accumulations of wealth that pass from one generation to another, the tax falls most heavily on small businesses and family farms, the value of which is more likely to be tied to one individual or a family. Gov. Tom Corbett wants to eliminate it for that reason, said Dan Hassell, a deputy secretary at the Department of Revenue, told The Independent.