Do we as joint tenants with right of survivorship now owe an inheritance tax/penalty?

Q: My mom is still alive at 83, but 12 years-ago gifted her home to me and my four sisters all individually named on a deed as joint tenants in common with right of survivorship. 10 months-ago one of my sisters passed away. We have been told we now owe an inheritance tax for my sister who passed, portion, plus we had 9 months to have done that, and now owe a penalty for a month as well. We had no idea any of that needed to be done! Is this accurate and how is this inheritance calculated?

A: This sort of thing happens a lot. Somebody was in my office yesterday with the same issue. The four remaining joint tenants will owe inheritance tax on one-fifth of the market value of the home. The value of the home will be based at date of death value of the home at the time your sibling/joint tenant died. Interest begins to accrue on unpaid inheritance at a very small percentage rate after 9 months from the date of death. You can go to the PA Department of Revenue website and calculate interest due on delinquent inheritance tax. I doubt if at only 10 months out, penalties will be incurred. You will need to file an inheritance tax return as soon as possible. More importantly, you should promptly make an estimated payment toward inheritance tax to the Department of Revenue so that interest will stop accruing. This can easily be done by an attorney and I suggest you consult with one.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.