Minor children who experience the death of one or both parents will no longer have to pay an inheritance tax on property. The bill, introduced by Representative Carl Walker Metzgar (R-Somerset/Bedford), ensures that "death taxes" will not have to be paid by minors at a time when they are experiencing a tough, personal loss.
Metzgar said the inspiration for the bill came from a personal experience of a close family friend. "She fell ill with pancreatic cancer and had young boys, and whenever she died, they ended up having to come in and do the scenario I just said: walking into the county courthouse, writing a check to the registrar, so that the Department of Revenue, the Commonwealth Department of Revenue could get their keep," Metzgar said.
Any child under the age of 21 would be eligible for the tax exemption. The bill also covers children with natural, adoptive, or stepparents. Metzgar said the law, as it currently stands, is emotionally unfair to children whose parents had been financially responsible.
Metzgar said he was also trying to close a loophole that involved joint bank accounts held by a parent and child. Currently, if a child's mother or father passed away and had a joint bank account with their child, their son or daughter would have to pay the Commonwealth an inheritance tax to claim the property rightfully owned by them.
House Bill 1780 was referred to the Finance committee of the State Senate after it was unanimously approved in the House on May 29.