In 2017, both the District of Columbia (D.C.) and Maryland were on track to match the federal estate tax exclusion amount: D.C. in 2018 and Maryland in 2019. However, both jurisdictions were apparently caught off guard by the federal government doubling its estate tax exclusion to $11.18 million for 2018. We last reported that both D.C. and Maryland were considering legislation to limit their exclusions to levels consistent to the federal estate tax exclusion in 2017. Now we confirm that both jurisdictions are breaking away from the federal government with lower estate tax exclusion amounts.
On Feb. 6, 2018, ten of the 13 D.C. City Council members joined in a bill to change the D.C. estate tax exclusion to $5.6 million for 2018 and have this amount adjusted for inflation in future years. These changes were later added to D.C.’s budget bill (the Budget Support Act), which was enacted on Sept. 5, 2018. Pursuant to this legislation, D.C.’s estate tax exclusion amount is $5.6 million retroactive back to Jan. 1, 2018.
For individuals dying in 2018, the Maryland estate tax exemption is $4 million which is a $1 million increase from 2017. The Maryland increase is part of a 2014 law that gradually increases the Maryland estate tax exemption each year until 2019, when it was on schedule to match the federal basic exclusion amount. Pursuant to legislation passed on April 5, 2018, Maryland will limit its estate tax exclusion to $5 million in 2019. Maryland’s change doesn’t involve any element of retroactivity as does the D.C. legislation.