Does Iowa Have an Inheritance Tax? Exploring the Corn State’s Approach

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A frequent inquiry that arises surrounding state taxes, specifically in Iowa is whether the state imposes an inheritance tax. The answer to this question warrants a thorough examination of the region’s taxation regulations as there are various intricacies involved. Unlike estate tax which pertains to taxing estates upon death, inheritance tax applies solely to heirs receiving inherited assets or property. To fully comprehend how such provisions operate within Iowa’s jurisdiction, we need a detailed gist on its specific terms and conditions.

Who Pays the Inheritance Tax in Iowa?

In Iowa, whether or not you pay inheritance tax largely depends on your relationship to the deceased. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Direct Descendants and Ascendants

In Iowa, immediate family members such as children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents are classified as direct descendants or ascendants. These relatives are usually exempt from paying inheritance tax. Therefore, if they inherit any property or assets from a deceased relative within the same lineage it is not subjected to an inheritance tax payment requirement.

Collateral Heirs

A broader spectrum of family members falls under the category of collateral heirs, comprising siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles as well as cousins. In case such kin inherit assets left behind by someone deceased, they may be liable to pay inheritance tax albeit typically at lower rates compared to non-relatives.

Iowa implements different tax rates for collateral heirs, depending on the value of the assets bequeathed. Employing a graduated tax rate structure implies that as inherited asset values rise, so does the percentage of payable taxes. The table depicted below presents an easy-to-understand summary presenting Iowa’s applicable taxation rates for collateral heirs:

Inherited Asset ValueInheritance Tax Rate
Up to $100,0005%
$100,000 – $250,00010%
$250,000 – $500,00015%
Over $500,00020%


Individuals who are not related, such as friends or those without a family connection to the departed, often encounter elevated inheritance tax rates in Iowa. Comparable to collateral heirs, these rates hinge on the worth of their acquired assets. Refer to this chart for an overview of inheritance tax percentages applied specifically for non-relatives within Iowa:

Inherited Asset ValueInheritance Tax Rate
Up to $25,00015%
$25,000 – $100,00020%
Over $100,00025%

It is crucial to acknowledge that the laws concerning inheritance tax in Iowa are subject to changes, with possible updates on rates and exemptions by legislative bodies. To ensure reliable information for guidance regarding such taxes in Iowa, seeking advice from a qualified estate planning attorney or taxation expert would be prudent.

Tax Rates in Detail

The rates for inheritance tax differ depending on both the value of the property inherited and the beneficiary’s relationship to their deceased relative. These are some common rates:

Spouse: 0% Tax Rate

Inheritance tax does not apply to spouses. Thus, in the event of a spouse’s passing and subsequent transfer of properties or assets to their surviving partner as an inheritor, no inheritance taxes need be paid. This exemption aims at lessening financial pressure on those who have lost their significant other during what is already a trying period.

Children and Grandchildren: 0% Tax Rate

Both children and grandchildren who are direct descendants can benefit from a full exemption on inheritance tax. This means that any assets they inherit from their parents or grandparents will not be subjected to taxation, which is helpful in keeping the family’s wealth intact within its immediate members.

Siblings: 5-10% Tax Rate

Brothers and sisters of the deceased may be liable for paying an inheritance tax which can range between 5% to 10%, depending on the overall value of assets inherited. The rate is calculated using a progressive structure that means greater values attract higher percentages of taxes owed. To put it more comprehensively, here’s a detailed overview regarding tax rates applicable to siblings in such cases:

  • Inheritance Value up to $100,000: 5% tax rate;
  • Inheritance Value between $100,000 and $250,000: 7.5% tax rate;
  • Inheritance Value over $250,000: 10% tax rate.

Nieces and Nephews: 10-15% Tax Rate

Both nieces and nephews are considered collateral heirs which means they’re obliged to pay an inheritance tax. Just like siblings, the applicable rates of taxation for these beneficiaries depend entirely on their share value from the inherited assets. For reference purposes, here is a comprehensive breakdown of said tax rate structure:

  • Inheritance Value up to $100,000: 10% tax rate;
  • Inheritance Value between $100,000 and $250,000: 12.5% tax rate;
  • Inheritance Value over $250,000: 15% tax rate.

Others (Non-Relatives): Up to 15% Tax Rate

Individuals without any familial ties to the deceased, including friends and acquaintances, might encounter significantly larger inheritance tax rates in Iowa. For others, the taxation structure depends on the complete value of their inherited assets.

  • Inheritance Value up to $25,000: 15% tax rate;
  • Inheritance Value between $25,000 and $100,000: 20% tax rate;
  • Inheritance Value over $100,000: 25% tax rate.

Keeping in mind that legislative updates can impact inheritance tax rates and exemptions, consulting with a competent estate planning attorney or tax professional is highly recommended for current information and tailored advice on Iowa’s inheritance tax.

How Is the Inheritance Tax Calculated?

The calculation of the inheritance tax necessitates an evaluation of the estate’s worth, followed by implementing the appropriate tax percentage based upon kinship with the departed. It can prove to be a complicated procedure since it factors in several variables along with possible exceptions and adjustments.

Value of the Inheritance

To calculate the inheritance tax in Iowa, start by assessing the total value of the deceased’s estate. This encompasses all assets, property, and funds included in their inheritance. To determine each asset’s worth at this time is usually determined based on its fair market evaluation during death.

Applicable Tax Rates

The tax rate for inheriting is tiered and depends on the relationship between the deceased person and their heir. Those with a closer connection will receive a lower tax rate. The following are applicable rates based on different heirs:

Relationship to DeceasedTax Rate
Surviving SpouseExempt
Lineal Descendants5%
All Others15%

The Iowa Department of Revenue or a qualified tax professional should be consulted to confirm the latest tax rates, as they may change with legislative updates.


To alleviate the inheritance tax burden, Iowa renders a few exemptions and deductions. A well-known exemption is property transferred to a surviving spouse that generally avoids inheritance taxes. Nevertheless, it’s essential to bear in mind that exemptions and deductions may vary periodically; therefore keeping up-to-date with present regulations is indispensable.


Apart from exemptions, there are particular deductions that could be applicable to decrease the taxable amount of the inheritance. Several typical reductions encompass:

  • Funeral Expenses: One may deduct the expenses for funeral and burial of the deceased from their estate’s total value when computing inheritance tax;
  • Debts and Liabilities: The outstanding debts and liabilities left by the deceased can be deducted from the total value of their estate, resulting in a reduction of its taxable amount;
  • Bequests to Charitable Organizations: Donating or leaving assets to authorized non-profit organizations may qualify for a deduction, which would ultimately lower the taxable value of one’s estate;
  • State Taxes Paid: It is possible to qualify for a deduction on the taxable amount by considering any state estate taxes paid.

Filing Requirements

The obligation of adhering to these prerequisites falls on the executors or personal representatives in charge of the departed individual’s estate. The following are the stipulated procedures, documents and time limits applicable for Iowa inheritance tax filing.

Responsibilities of the Executor/Personal Representative

The inheritance tax process is managed by the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate, whose duties are crucial. These responsibilities encompass:

  • Assessment of the Estate: To evaluate the estate, it is necessary to determine its overall worth by considering all possessions and finances owned by the deceased. This assessment should reflect the current market value at which these items would be sold upon their owner’s passing;
  • Determining Tax Liability: Once the estate’s worth has been evaluated, it is imperative to determine the probable tax obligation according to both the beneficiary’s connection with the deceased and pertinent tax brackets;
  • Completing the Required Forms: The precise forms needed for inheritance tax filing in Iowa might fluctuate based on the estate’s worth and other criteria. It is mandatory that the executor accurately completes all essential tax forms;
  • Payment of Inheritance Tax: After determining the tax liability and completing the necessary documents, it is incumbent upon the executor to settle any required inheritance taxes. Timely payment is imperative in order to prevent fines and accumulated interest.

Time Frame for Filing and Payment

Adhering to the specified time frame is crucial when filing for inheritance tax in Iowa. Neglecting it may lead to financial penalties and interest charges, rendering it necessary that one conforms accordingly. Typically, the following outlines constitute as a standard framework:

  • Filing Deadline: The stipulated deadline for filing the inheritance tax return in Iowa is commonly nine months after the demise of the individual. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to confirm this timeline with the Iowa Department of Revenue since modifications may apply;
  • Payment Deadline: Typically, the inheritance tax payment must be made by the filing deadline. Executors should make certain that both completed forms and payments are submitted together.

Common Forms for Iowa Inheritance Tax

The particular documents needed to file inheritance tax in Iowa may differ depending on the estate’s worth and additional circumstances. Nevertheless, some frequently used forms comprise:

  • Form IA 706: Utilized for Iowa Inheritance Tax Return purposes and involves the declaration of estate possessions along with calculating tax responsibility;
  • Form IA 706 Schedule A: Serves as a comprehensive record of all estate assets, including their respective values;
  • Form IA 706 Schedule B: Pertains to the declaration of real estate assets encompassed within the estate;
  • Form IA 706 Schedule C: Schedule C is used for reporting stocks and bonds;
  • Form IA 706 Schedule D: pertains to the disclosure of personal possessions which include household items, jewelry, and vehicles.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

To avoid financial consequences, it is vital to comply with deadlines and file precise forms while meeting the filing and payment obligations for Iowa’s inheritance tax; otherwise, one may incur penalties and interest fees that accumulate daily.

When and How to Pay Inheritance Tax in Iowa

To gain knowledge about paying inheritance tax in Iowa, here’s what you should be aware of:

Filing Deadline

To pay inheritance tax in Iowa, the initial measure is identifying the filing deadline. It’s crucial to comply with this schedule to steer clear of fines or additional fees. The time limit for submitting an inheritance tax return in Iowa falls within nine months following the death of the individual leaving behind assets. Thus, you have a reasonably large frame for assembling and delivering all relevant paperwork.

Payment Method

After setting the filing deadline, selecting a payment method for your inheritance tax becomes necessary. You can select from two primary options in Iowa:

  • Check: To pay your inheritance tax, you have the option to use a traditional paper check. The payable entity is “Iowa Department of Revenue,” and all requested information including the decedent’s name, social security number, and estate details must be included. Be cautious in sending out checks sooner than later as processing time may vary for mailed payments before filing deadline hits;
  • Electronic Payment: Making an inheritance tax payment electronically via the online portal of Iowa Department of Revenue is a convenient and progressively favored option. This mode provides various advantages such as swifter processing, electronic acknowledgment, and accessibility to trace your transaction. To commence with this method, simply visit the official website of Iowa’s revenue department and adhere to their guidelines for completing online payments.

Key Considerations

Aside from comprehending the filing cutoff date and modes of payment, there exist several significant factors to bear in mind while settling inheritance duties in Iowa:

Key ConsiderationDescription
Estate ValuationThe amount of inheritance tax you owe is determined by the total value of the decedent’s estate. Accurate estate valuation is crucial to ensure you pay the correct amount. Seek professional advice if you are unsure about how to assess the estate’s value.
Appraisal RequirementsIn some cases, you may need to obtain appraisals for certain assets within the estate, such as real estate or valuable artwork. Ensure that you comply with any appraisal requirements to avoid delays in the tax payment process.
Seek Legal and Financial GuidancePaying inheritance tax can be a complex process, and the rules and regulations may change over time. It’s advisable to consult with legal and financial professionals who specialize in estate planning and taxation to ensure full compliance with Iowa’s inheritance tax laws.
Keep Detailed RecordsMaintain thorough records of all transactions related to the estate and inheritance tax payment. This includes copies of the inheritance tax return, payment receipts, correspondence with the Iowa Department of Revenue, and any supporting documents used to calculate the tax liability.
Plan AheadTo minimize the financial impact of inheritance tax, consider estate planning strategies such as gifting, trusts, or other tax-efficient methods. Early planning can help reduce the overall tax liability for heirs and beneficiaries.


Addressing the question, does Iowa have an inheritance tax, reveals a system that is nuanced and varies based on the heir’s relationship to the deceased. Navigating through Iowa’s inheritance tax requires understanding these intricacies and keeping abreast of any legislative changes. For those dealing with an inheritance in Iowa, it’s crucial to consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance and explore potential tax planning strategies.


Does Iowa have an inheritance tax for children inheriting from their parents?

No, in Iowa, children inheriting from their parents are typically exempt from paying inheritance tax.

How does Iowa’s inheritance tax compare to other states?

Iowa’s inheritance tax rates and exemptions are unique to the state and differ from other states that impose such taxes. Comparison requires examining each state’s specific laws.

Can inheritance tax in Iowa be avoided or reduced?

In some cases, proper estate planning can help reduce or avoid inheritance tax, especially through the use of trusts or gifting strategies.

Is there a deadline for paying inheritance tax in Iowa?

Yes, the inheritance tax return and any due tax should be filed and paid within nine months of the decedent’s death.

Are there penalties for late payment of inheritance tax in Iowa?

Yes, failing to pay the tax within the stipulated time can result in penalties and interest charges.

Jerry Miller

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