In Ohio, an Estate Tax Return is filed within nine months of a person's death. The original tax return and one copy needs to be filed with the Probate Court along with any other appropriate filings set forth in the Ohio Revised Code and Supreme Court Rules of Superintendence regarding estate filings. A second copy is filed with the County Auditor.
Taxes are based on the net value of the decedent's estate or the gross value minus the debts and administrative expenses of the estate. Ohio allows an unlimited marital deduction that allows property to pass from one spouse to another without taxation. Ohio also allows a credit of $500 on the taxes due. It is strongly recommended that an attorney be retained to prepare this return. The Auditor issues Consent to Transfer Property (Tax Releases) for Estates. These releases notify financial institutions that they may transfer ownership of assets and notifies the Department of Taxation that the estate exists and that an estate tax return may be necessary.
The Auditor must also inventory the contents of any safe deposit boxes to which the decedent had access. The auditor only inventories the safe deposit box under a court order. Once the inventory is completed, a Tax Release is issued. A penalty of up to $10,000 may be levied by the Department of Taxation if a safe deposit box is not inventoried before any items are removed. The only exceptions are the decedent's will, the decedent's life insurance policy, or the decedent's cemetery plot deed. Even then, the financial institution will need to make a record of who entered the box, when they entered the box, and what was removed, and then it should seal the box. This record would then be turned over to the Auditor when the inventory is conducted.