Ruling on estate tax will cost Washington $50 million

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OLYMPIA — A Washington state Supreme Court ruling limiting the collection of estate taxes will cost the state nearly $50 million in the current budget.

Justices decided Thursday that Washington’s estate tax will not apply to married couples who had used a certain estate planning trust prior to 2005. State officials had argued that taxes were due once the second spouse died.

Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow estimated that the decision will cost the state $47.6 million during the current biennium for refunds of taxes that were paid and others that won’t be collected. He estimates that the decision will cost the state $5 million per year after the first adjustments are made.

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