When Being #1 is Not a Source of Pride

John Robinson |

Hawaii has a long, well-earned reputation as a high-tax state. Legislative updates over the past few years pertaining to the state's estate tax rules have certainly been consistent with this predilection. For instance, following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2013, the Hawaii legislature moved to decouple from the Federal Estate tax exemption limits and retained the much lower pre-2018 federal estate tax limits indexed for inflation.

In December 2019, Governor Ige signed into law a bill that increased the state estate tax on estates over $10,000,0000 to 20%. This makes Hawaii and Oregon the only two states with a maximum tax rate of 20%. See: Hawaii has increased its death tax for the super-wealthy (KITV4, April 2019)

The 2021 legislative slate offers yet another slate of onerous/regressive estate tax proposals that would make Hawaii an even more expensive state to bid one's final "Aloha." HB No.445 and SB No.1300, 445 both propose lowering the exclusion amount of Hawaii’s estate tax to just $1,000,000(!) for decedents dying or taxable transfers occurring after December 31, 2020. (Source: Tax Foundation of Hawaii]

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Here’s How Tax Increases Are Shaking Out In The Hawaii Legislature Hawaii Senate Approves Nation's Highest Income Tax Rate. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Where Not to die in 2021?(Forbes)

Does Your State have an Estate or Inheritance Tax? (Tax Foundation.org)