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Estate Tax Department

The County Fiscal Officer acts as an agent for the Ohio Tax Commissioner and is responsible for processing the Estate tax returns of decedents who resided in Cuyahoga County.  Included in these duties are the inventory of safe deposit boxes for Guardianships only. 

The monies collected from the estate tax are distributed by law, 36% to the State of Ohio and 64% to the taxing district (City, Township or Village) in which the decedent had resided and/or owned real property.  For dates of death on or after January 1, 2001, the distribution is 70% to the municipality and 30% to the State of Ohio and for dates of death after January 1, 2002, the distribution is 80% to the municipality and 20% to the State of Ohio. 

In Ohio, an Estate Tax return is filed within nine months of a person’s date of death.  Two copies of the return are filed with the Probate Court in the County in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death. The tax due is based on the net value of the decedent’s estate.  The net estate is gross estate value minus the debts and administration expenses of the estate. The gross estate is made up of all assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, personal property, and such.  The debts and administration expenses are made up of funeral costs, attorney and executor fees, outstanding bills in the name of the decedent, and such.  Ohio has an unlimited marital deduction which allows property to pass from one spouse to another without taxation.  Ohio also allows a credit of either $500 , $6,600, or $13,900 depending on the date of death.  Taxes are paid at the County Fiscal office. It is strongly recommended that an attorney be retained to prepare this return. 

The County Fiscal Officer also issues Consent to Transfer Property Forms (Tax Release) for estates.  These releases serve two purposes. First, it notifies the financial institution that it may transfer Ownership of the asset.  Second it notifies the Department Of Taxation that the estate and asset exist and that an estate tax return may be necessary. (see Frequently Asked Questions section for when you are required to obtain tax releases.)   

At a recent training seminar conducted by the Ohio Department of Taxation, Estate Tax Division, the topic of computer generated forms was discussed.  Per the Department, only those forms that exactly match the forms prescribed by the Department are acceptable.  If you are using computer generated forms, such as those prepared by Perfect Probate or ProBATE  Software Publishing Co., they must be sent to the Department for their approval.

Please mail any request or concerns to:

Ohio Department of Taxation
Estate Tax Division
P.O. Box 183050
Columbus, OH 43218-3050