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33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the federal exemption from estate taxes to $11.2 million per person, or $22.4 million for a married couple, so the vast majority of taxpayers won't have to worry about federal estate taxes. However, if your goal is to leave as much as you can to your heirs, then you should also pay attention to the state you choose for retirement.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia levy their own estate taxes, sometimes called death taxes, and some have much lower thresholds than Uncle Sam. In addition, six states have inheritance taxes. Maryland, whose nickname is the Free State, has both.

The good news for retirees focused on estate planning: There are 33 states that have neither estate taxes nor inheritance taxes. Delaware, which eliminated its estate tax at the end of 2017, is the latest state to join the list. New Jersey also nixed its estate tax at the end of 2017, but it still has an inheritance tax.

Alabama

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Overall Rating for Taxes on Retirees: Tax-friendly

Inheritance and Estate Taxes: There is no inheritance tax or estate tax.

State Sales Tax: 4% state levy. Localities can add as much as 7% to that, and the average combined rate is 9.01%, according to the Tax Foundation. Alabama is one of the few states that does not exempt food from sales tax.

State Income Tax Range: Low: 2% (on up to $1,000 of taxable income for married joint filers and up to $500 for all others); High: 5% (on more than $6,000 of taxable income for married joint filers and more than $3,000 for all others). Alabama also allows residents to deduct all of their federal income tax from state taxable income.

State Taxes on Social Security: Benefits are not taxed.

For additional information on property taxes, taxes on other retirement income and tax breaks for retirees see the complete guide to taxes on retirees in Alabama.

Alaska

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Overall Rating for Taxes on Retirees: Most tax-friendly

Inheritance and Estate Taxes: There is no inheritance tax or estate tax.

State Sales Tax: Alaska is one of five states with no state sales tax. However, localities can levy sales taxes, which can go as high as 7.5%. But, according to the Tax Foundation, the statewide average is only 1.76%.

State Income Tax Range: No state income tax.

State Taxes on Social Security: Benefits are not taxed.

For additional information on property taxes, taxes on other retirement income and tax breaks for retirees see the complete guide to taxes on retirees in Alaska.

Arizona

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Overall Rating

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