HB 1465, to increase the death tax rate in Washington State to 40%

Feb 23, 2021

Key Findings

1. HB 1465 would increase the rate for Washington’s death tax to as high as 40%.

2. It would give Washington the highest death tax rate in the country, and one of the highest in the world.

3. Only 18 states impose the tax; most states impose no tax on people at the moment of death.

4. The death tax is especially hard on low-income and immigrant families trying to build a business.

5. Sections 7 and 8 of the bill appear designed to target certain racial and ethnic groups in a way that likely violates the Washington Civil Rights Act.

6. The state has no need for a new tax; the current budget is balanced and lawmakers estimate they will receive 7% more revenue in the next budget.

7. Repeal would end the unfair impact of the tax while bringing tax policy in Washington into line with the best practices of other states.


Recently the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on HB 1465, a bill to increase the rate for Washington’s death tax to as high as 40%, depending on the size of the estate being taxed. This Legislative Memo presents a brief summary of the bill, reviews concerns regarding the protection of equal rights, and describes the overall negative effect the bill would have on the public interest in Washington State.

Read the full Legislative Memo here.