Taxes Form 4768: Filing for an Estate Tax Return Extension Not all estates are required to file this form By Julie Garber Updated on November 30, 2022 Reviewed by Ebony J. Howard Reviewed by Ebony J. Howard Ebony Howard is a certified public accountant and a QuickBooks ProAdvisor tax expert. She has been in the accounting, audit, and tax profession for more than 13 years, working with individuals and a variety of companies in the health care, banking, and accounting industries. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Yasmin Ghahremani In This Article View All In This Article When Is Form 706 Due? Who Must File Form 706? State Requirements Filing for an Extension With Form 4768 Where to File Forms 706 and 4768 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: bymuratdeniz / Getty Images If you're worried about filing Form 706 late, Form 4768 can help. This form is the application for a deadline extension on estate taxes. The IRS offers an automatic six-month extension through Form 4768. Learn when and how to file both Form 706 and Form 4768. Key Takeaways Form 706 must be filed within nine months of the date of death.Filing Form 4768 gives you an automatic six-month extension on the Form 706 deadline.Forms 706 and 4768 must be filed by mail, and the forms must be mailed to different addresses. When Is Form 706 Due? Form 706 must generally be filed along with any tax due within nine months of the decedent's date of death. However, not every estate needs to file Form 706. It depends on the value of the estate. Note Supplemental forms, such as 706-A, 706-GS(D-1), 706-NA, or 706-QDT, may also need to be filed. These additional forms returns apply to certain situations. Who Must File Form 706? For decedents who died in 2022, Form 706 must be filed when their gross estate, plus any taxable gifts given during their lifetime, is valued at more than $12.06 million. This threshold has been indexed for inflation, so it may increase incrementally year over year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) increased the exemption from just $5.49 million in 2017 to $11.18 million in 2018 when the new tax law went into effect. Inflation adjustments bumped it up to $11.4 million in 2019, which rose to $11.58 million for 2020 and $11.7 million for 2021. For decedents who die in 2022, the exemption threshold has been increased to $12.06 million. Note The TCJA expires at the end of 2025 unless Congress acts to renew it. If it expires, the federal estate tax exemption will revert back to the 2017 level, although it will exceed $5.49 because of that inflation adjustment. How To Calculate the Value of the Estate To determine whether an estate tax return must be filed, add the following values together: Adjusted taxable gifts made by the decedent after Dec. 31, 1976, if they exceeded the annual gift tax exclusion in the year they were madeThe total specific exemption allowed under Section 2521 (which was in effect before its repeal by the Tax Reform Act of 1976) for gifts made by the decedent after Sept. 8, 1976The value of the decedent’s gross estate valued at the time of death A gross estate valued at more than the exemption limit must file Form 706 even if no federal estate tax will be owed after applicable deductions and tax credits have been applied. The Portability Election The concept of portability of the estate tax exemption between married couples was first introduced in 2011. A surviving spouse can elect to pick up their deceased spouse's unused estate tax exemption under this rule and add it to their own federal estate tax exemption. This is known as the deceased spousal unused exclusion (DSUE). For example, the Smiths, a married couple have equal ownership of an estate worth $24.12 million. If Mr. Smith died in January 2022, his half of the estate $12.06 million ($24.12 million/2) can be passed on to his wife without any tax liability under unlimited marital deduction. Now if Mrs. Smith dies later, there can be two scenarios: Without portability: If Mrs. Smith has not elected for portability and claimed DSUE, then the $12.06 million she inherited from her husband can be passed on to her heirs tax-free. But any part of her share of the estate that exceeds $12.06 million would be subject to estate tax.With portability: If Mrs. Smith elects for portability, she can claim the entire unused $12.06 million exclusion. Between this unused exclusion from Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith's own $12.06 million exemption, she could pass on the entire estate to her heirs virtually tax-free. Note A surviving spouse can elect to use their DSUE by filing Form 706 for the estate regardless of whether it is subject to any estate tax. They would make the election on this tax form. When Should a Nontaxable Estate File Form 706? Some estates that are not required to file federal estate tax returns could consider doing so anyway. It’s typically much easier to settle the estate of a surviving spouse or a non-spouse beneficiary later on if an estate tax return has previously been filed. The starting fair market values and step-up in basis of estate assets will be clearly documented and memorialized on the initial decedent’s IRS Form 706. Which States Require Preparation of Form 706? Sometimes an estate can be taxable at the state level even if it's not taxable at the federal level, and this may require filing Form 706 even if no tax is due to the federal government. Twelve states and Washington D.C. impose state-level estate taxes of their own as of 2022, and some of their exemptions are far less than what's currently offered by the federal government. As of 2022, the following jurisdictions require that estates prepare and file IRS Form 706 at the state level, along with all necessary state estate tax forms, even if Form 706 isn't filed with the federal government. The 2022 state-by-state tax exemption limits are as follows (Vermont and Washington D.C. have not yet provided 2022 figures): Connecticut: $9.1 millionHawaii: $5.49 millionIllinois: $4 millionMaine: $6.01 millionMaryland: $5 millionMassachusetts: $1 millionMinnesota: $3 millionNew York: $6.11 millionOregon: $1 millionRhode Island: $1.5 millionVermont: $5 million (2021)Washington: $2.193 millionWashington D.C.: $4 million (2021) Note Some states account for adjusted federally taxable gifts in the exclusion amount differently. For example, Vermont's $5 million limit includes adjusted taxable gifts made within two years of death, while New York accounts for adjusted taxable gifts made within three years of death. Filing for an Extension With Form 4768 An automatic six-month extension of time to file is granted to estates that file IRS Form 4768, the Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes. Filing Form 4768 automatically gives the executor of an estate or the trustee of a living trust an additional six months to file a tax return. Form 4768 must be filed on or before the due date for Form 706, or for the equivalent form for a given estate. The estimated tax should be paid by that date as well. Where To File Form 706 and Form 4768 If filing by mail, you can send Form 706 to the following address: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Kansas City, MO 64999. If filing by mail, you can send Form 4768 for the extension to the following address: Internal Revenue Service Center, Attn: Estate & Gift, Stop 824G, 7940 Kentucky Drive, Florence, KY 41042-2915. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is the late penalty for Form 706? If you fail to file Form 706 (or any other IRS form) by the deadline, then the late penalty is 5% of the taxes you owe per month. This penalty maxes out at 25% of your total unpaid taxes. If you can't pay, it's still best to file by the deadline because the failure to pay penalty (typically between 0.25% and 1%) is less than the failure to file penalty. Can you e-file Form 4768? You cannot e-file Form 4768, although there are efforts to change that. In 2020, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants asked the federal government to allow for e-filing for Form 4768 and Form 709, among others. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 706: United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return," Page 2. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 706: United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return," Page 1. Internal Revenue Service. "Estate Tax." Charles Schwab. "The Estate Tax and Lifetime Gifting." Charles Schwab. "What Do I Need to Know About Estate Taxes?" Maine Revenue Services. "Estate Tax FAQs." Office of Legislative Research. "Estate, Inheritance, and Gift Taxes in CT and Other States," Page 1. State of Hawaii, Department of Taxation. "Important Notice Regarding Illinois Estate Tax and Fact Sheet," Page 1. State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General. 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