Does Colorado Have An Estate Tax?

Colorado does not impose estate taxes, like 33 others, as of 2023. In this article, you’ll learn about federal implications, calculations, exemptions, filing procedures, and the significance of trusts in Colorado estate planning.
Does Colorado have an estate tax?
Does Colorado Have An Estate Tax?
In this article

There are both federal and state estate taxes in the United States. Does Colorado have an estate tax? In 2023, around 33 states, including Colorado, have no estate tax. The estate tax is a federal tax payable on the transfer of a departed person’s estate. When the value of an estate exceeds a legal exclusion limit, an estate tax is imposed. Only the sum that exceeds the minimal threshold is liable to tax.

Does Colorado Have an Estate Tax?

Colorado does not have an estate tax, distinguishing it from most states. As of 2023, 33 states, including Colorado, do not impose an estate tax. Estate tax is a levy on an individual’s estate upon death, applied before the inheritance is passed on to heirs. While Colorado does not have an estate tax, it’s important to note that the federal government still imposes a federal estate tax. So, although Colorado residents may not face a state estate tax burden, those dealing with substantial estates should be aware of federal implications and consider professional financial advice for effective estate planning. Beem assists you in filing your taxes online in all income brackets and maximizes your refund.

What are the Exemptions from the Colorado Estate Tax?

Colorado does not provide specific state exemptions for its estate tax. However, the federal “unified credit” impacts the state tax liability. The unified credit applies to federal gift and estate taxes, allowing individuals to gift a certain amount during their lifetime without incurring taxes. As of 2020, the maximum unified credit permits granting up to $11.58 million without tax consequences. While Colorado does not have its estate tax exemptions, the federal unified credit indirectly influences the state tax liability for individuals with estates that include Colorado property.

How is the Colorado Estate Tax Calculated?

The Colorado estate tax calculation is intricately tied to the now-defunct federal state death tax credit. Formerly aligned with federal estate tax returns, this credit was eliminated in 2005, effectively ending the Colorado estate tax for individuals passing away after December 31, 2004. Previously, the state death tax credit was determined as a percentage of the federally adjusted taxable estate. Colorado’s estate tax was then computed by applying this credit to the share of the estate that included Colorado property.

Filing a Colorado Estate Tax Return

Colorado requires no separate state estate tax return for individuals passing away after December 31, 2004. The state follows federal regulations, and residents no longer have to pay the state estate tax since the termination of the federal state death tax benefit in 2005. The estate administrator must file Form DR 1210 with the Colorado Department of Revenue for individuals who died before this date. However, under current law, there is no filing requirement for estates of individuals who die after December 31, 2004, making the process more straightforward than in states with an active estate tax.

The Colorado Estate Tax And Trusts

The landscape of estate planning in Colorado is influenced by various trusts designed to optimize financial outcomes and mitigate tax implications. Understanding the interplay between trusts and the state’s estate tax regulations is crucial for effective wealth management.

Marital Trusts

Marital Trusts, recognized in Colorado, offer a strategic avenue for spouses to maximize the use of their individual estate tax exemptions. The estate tax on those assets is deferred until the second spouse passes by placing assets into a trust for the surviving spouse. This structure can be instrumental in preserving family wealth and facilitating smooth wealth transfer between spouses.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

Colorado residents often employ Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts to protect life insurance returns from estate taxes. By establishing this trust, the life insurance death benefit is excluded from the taxable estate, ensuring that beneficiaries receive the total amount without diminution due to estate taxation.

Qualified Personal Residence Trust

Colorado residents may leverage Qualified Personal Residence Trusts to transfer their primary residence to an irrevocable trust, retaining the right to reside in the property for a specified period. This strategy can reduce estate tax exposure while allowing continued use and enjoyment of the home.

Charitable Trusts

Charitable Trusts allow individuals to support philanthropic causes while potentially enjoying tax benefits. In Colorado, establishing charitable remainder or charitable lead trusts allows for aligning charitable giving goals with estate planning objectives, providing a tax-efficient avenue for supporting philanthropic organizations.

Tips to Reduce Your Estate Tax Bill in Colorado

Effective estate planning in Colorado involves strategic measures to minimize the estate tax burden. Individuals can optimize wealth transfer by leveraging various techniques while minimizing tax liabilities. Here are vital tips for Colorado residents seeking to reduce their estate tax bills:

Marital Transfers

Utilize marital transfers to maximize the personal estate tax exemption. Assets transferred to a surviving spouse incur no estate taxes, deferring the tax obligation until the second spouse’s passing. This deferral can preserve family wealth and facilitate smooth intergenerational wealth transfer.

Lifetime Gifts to Children and Grandchildren

Capitalize on the annual, tax-free gift exclusions for individuals and couples. Annual gifts to children and grandchildren within these limits can significantly reduce the taxable estate. This strategic gifting allows for the gradual transfer of assets while taking advantage of allowable exemptions.

Gifting To Minors

Explore gifting options to minors using vehicles like the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) or the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA). While these methods provide tax advantages, it’s crucial to consider potential impacts on student financial aid eligibility.

Private Annuity

Consider a private annuity arrangement, especially when selling assets to younger family members. This strategy involves receiving annual payments for a lifetime in exchange for transferring assets. It removes the asset from the estate and provides a steady income stream. Choose Beem’s tax filing solution for a maximum refund, flawless accuracy, and no hidden fees.


Colorado distinguishes itself by not imposing a state estate tax, aligning with most states. While residents are exempt from state-level estate taxes, federal implications persist. Colorado’s estate tax landscape underscores the importance of understanding federal regulations, leveraging marital trusts, exploring gifting strategies, and considering specialized trusts for efficient estate planning. Navigating this terrain with professional guidance ensures individuals can maximize wealth transfer, minimize tax liabilities, and align their estate planning goals with broader financial objectives.

You might also be interested in this article:

  1. Does Virginia Have An Estate Tax?
  2. Does Georgia Have An Estate Tax?
  3. Does Illinois have Estate Tax?
  4. Does Ohio Have An Estate Tax?
  5. Does Texas Have An Estate Tax?


Am I required to file a Colorado tax return?

Colorado tax return filing requirements depend on income, filing status, and other specific circumstances.

How much is estate tax in Colorado?

Colorado does not have a state estate tax; however, a federal estate tax may apply.

Does Colorado tax trust income?

Colorado imposes an income tax on trusts, taxing their income at varying rates.

What is the estate tax exemption for 2023 in Colorado?

Colorado does not have a state estate tax, so there is no specific tax exemption for 2023.

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Team Beem brings you the latest in the world of personal finance to you. From tips and tricks on how to manage money to how to get cash for emergencies, Beem is your destination for all the information you need to be smart about your money.

This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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