Filing the Estate Tax Return

The Maryland estate tax return must be filed within nine (9) months of the decedent's date of death unless an extension has been granted by the Comptroller's Office. Please note that Maryland estate tax payments are due to the Comptroller of Maryland on or before the nine (9) month due date of the estate tax return, regardless of whether an extension has been granted.

A Maryland estate tax return is required for every estate whose federal gross estate, plus adjusted taxable gifts, plus property for which a Maryland Qualified Terminal Interest Property (QTIP) election was previously made on a Maryland estate tax return filed for the estate of the decedent's predeceased spouse, equals or exceeds the Maryland estate tax exemption amount for the decedent's date of death (see chart below) and the decedent at the date of death was a Maryland resident or a nonresident but owned real or tangible personal property having a taxable situs in Maryland.

The filing requirement also varies depending on the year of the decedent's death. The chart below lists the different gross estate levels that require an estate tax filing.

For help or questions with filing of form MET1 and other Maryland Estate tax forms please contact EstateTaxHelp@marylandtaxes.gov

Year Gross estate
2019 & after $5,000,000
2018 $4,000,000
2017 $3,000,000
2016 $2,000,000
2015 $1,500,000
2002-2014 $1,000,000
2000-2001 $675,000
1999 $650,000
Prior to 1999  Contact us

You must complete the federal estate tax return (IRS Form 706) for the date of the decedent's death before filling out the Maryland estate tax return. If the estate is not required to file a federal return, you must still complete a pro forma federal return. Using information from the federal return, you should complete the Maryland estate tax return, Form MET-1.

To elect to exclude up to $5,000,000 of the value of qualified agricultural property from the value of the gross estate and benefit from a tax rate not to exceed 5% of the value of such property exceeding $5,000,000, Schedule E must be filed with the Comptroller as an attachment to the Maryland Estate Tax Return. To request Schedule E and its attachments, please call the Estate Tax Unit at (410) 260-7850.

Include the federal return, complete with all schedules, attachments and supporting documents when filing the Maryland estate tax return. In all cases, you must submit a certified death certificate, the decedent's last will and testament and any applicable trusts. Additional attachments may be requested, including, but not limited to, date of death appraisals, bank and investment account statements, Form 712s, mortgage statements, and substantiation of other deductions.

The Maryland estate tax return must be filed directly with the Comptroller of Maryland. The Comptroller will send the return to the Register of Wills for completion of Section III to certify the payment of inheritance taxes.

The estate tax return and all attachments should be sent to:

Comptroller of Maryland
Revenue Administration Division
Estate Tax Unit
P.O. Box 828
Annapolis, Maryland 21404-0828

Use the appropriate version of Form MET-1 for the date of the decedent's death.

The Maryland estate tax is equal to the maximum allowable credit for state death taxes under 2011 of the Internal Revenue Code without reduction by any Act of Congress enacted on or after January 1, 2001, minus the inheritance tax paid to the Office of the Register of Wills.

The federal Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA of 2001) began phasing out the federal estate tax, increasing the filing exemption amounts, beginning with estates of decedents dying on January 1, 2002. The full repeal of the federal estate tax was effective in 2010 and the Act provides that the credit for state death taxes allowed under 2011 of the Internal Revenue Code will be reduced by 25% each year, starting in 2002, until completely eliminated by 2005. Maryland's estate tax is based on this credit.

In response to the federal act, Maryland passed the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2002, effective for estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2002. These provisions "decoupled" Maryland from the phase-out of the federal credit for state death taxes. The Maryland estate tax was then determined by using the allowable federal credit for state death taxes without reduction by any Act of Congress enacted on or after January 1, 2001. The filing requirement remained the same: a Maryland estate tax return was required to be filed only when a federal return was required for a Maryland decedent or an estate that included Maryland property.

Subsequent passage of Maryland's Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2004 further "decoupled" Maryland from the federal tax by freezing the unified credit at the amount that corresponds to an applicable exclusion amount of $1,000,000 for purposes of determining the Maryland estate tax. This means that for decedents dying after December 31, 2001 and before January 1, 2015, a Maryland estate tax return is required for estates whose gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts is valued at $1,000,000 or more.

Legislation enacted during the 2014 legislative session gradually conformed the Maryland estate tax exemption amount to the value of the unified credit under the federal estate tax, thereby increasing the amount that could be excluded for Maryland estate tax purposes as follows: (1) $1.5 million for a decedent dying in calendar year 2015; (2) $2.0 million for a decedent dying in calendar year 2016; (3) $3.0 million for a decedent dying in calendar year 2017; (4) $4.0 million for a decedent dying in calendar year 2018. Under the 2014 legislation, the Maryland exclusion amount was scheduled to recouple with the amount excluded under the federal estate tax for a decedent dying on or after January 1, 2019. The federal tax law changes enacted in 2017 increased the value of unified credit for federal estate tax purposes. As a result, during the 2018 Legislative Session, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Maryland Estate Tax-Unified Credit Act which alters the unified credit used for determining the amount that can be excluded for Maryland estate tax purposes. The enacted Maryland legislation ultimately decouples the Maryland exclusion amount from the federal unified credit once again. The amount that can be excluded for decedents dying on or after January 1, 2019 is $5.0 million. The Maryland exclusion amounts for decedents dying before January 1, 2019 remain the same. The 2018 legislation also established portability for Maryland estate tax purposes. Surviving spouses may now elect to claim any unused portion of their predeceased.

If the inheritance tax paid is equal to or exceeds the Maryland estate tax, no Maryland estate tax is due. However, an estate tax return is still required and estate tax is owed and due until the inheritance tax is actually paid.

The credit for state death taxes may be apportioned for estates that include certain property located outside of the State of Maryland. The instructions for determining the portion of the credit that is due to Maryland are located on Schedule A of the Maryland estate tax return, Form MET-1.

Use the MET-1 form appropriate for the date of the decedent's death.

The Comptroller of Maryland may extend the time to file an estate tax return up to six (6) months, or up to one (1) year if the person required to file the return is out of the United States. There are also provisions for granting an alternative payment schedule for the tax payment.

The request for an extension must be in writing and filed on or before the due date of the Maryland estate tax return. The request must include the following items:

  • A completed Form MET-1E, Application For Extension of Time to File the Maryland Estate Tax Return;
  • A copy of the federal extension application Form 4768 including attachments, if applicable; and
  • Remittance of the estimated Maryland estate tax, unless the estimated tax calculation shows no tax due or an alternative payment schedule is also requested.

If the estate is otherwise not required to file in Maryland (i.e. Federal gross estate of the decedent is under the Maryland filing threshold for the year of death of the decedent), but will be filing for portability purposes only, a MET1-E is not required to be filed to request an extension. In these specific cases, the MET1 must be filed within two years of the date of death of the decedent in order to be considered timely for portability purposes.

Extension requests should be sent to:

Comptroller of Maryland
Revenue Administration Division
Estate Tax Unit
P.O. Box 828
Annapolis, Maryland 21404-0828