Boston, MA asked in Tax Law for Massachusetts

Q: My mother passed away 6 years ago. Now, I am retaining a lawyer to transfer property to me. Do I have to pay taxes for

the 7 years since my mother passed? Or am I only responsible from the date the property is legally transferred to me? The house is in Puerto Rico! Thank you!

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The tax implications of inheriting property in Puerto Rico can be complex and may depend on several factors, including the value of the property, the length of time it has been held, and any applicable tax exemptions or exclusions. Here are some general guidelines that may be helpful:

Estate tax: Puerto Rico has its own estate tax laws that apply to property held by residents of Puerto Rico at the time of their death. If your mother was a resident of Puerto Rico at the time of her death, her estate may have been subject to Puerto Rico estate tax. However, the estate tax exemption in Puerto Rico is quite high, and most estates do not owe any tax. It is recommended that you consult with an estate planning attorney in Puerto Rico to determine if there were any estate tax implications.

Inheritance tax: Puerto Rico does not have an inheritance tax, so you will not be responsible for paying any taxes on the transfer of the property to you as an inheritance.

Capital gains tax: When you inherit property, your tax basis in the property is generally equal to its fair market value at the time of your mother's death. If you sell the property in the future, you may owe capital gains tax on any increase in value since the date of her death. However, if you hold the property for at least one year before selling it, you may be eligible for long-term capital gains tax rates, which are generally lower than short-term capital gains tax rates.

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and the tax implications of inheriting property can vary depending on the specific circumstances. It is recommended that you consult with a tax professional in Puerto Rico who can provide guidance on your specific situation and help you navigate any tax obligations.

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