Auditor's Office: FAQ: Estate Tax
RELEASES

Why is a tax release needed?
A tax release becomes a tracking system for the Ohio Department of Taxation. Banks are required under Section 5731.39 of the Ohio Revised Code to freeze accounts once they learn the account holder has died.

Are tax releases required in all cases?
No. Please view the most recent Ohio Estate Tax Update here. Accounts of $2,500 or less, either in the decedent's name only or held jointly with anyone other than a spouse, do not require a release. Accounts held jointly with a surviving spouse do not need a release if the date of death was on or after Oct. 1, 1996. In cases where the date of death was prior to Oct. 1, 1996, accounts of $5,000 or less, when held jointly with a surviving spouse, do not require a release.


BANKS

If a decedent's account has more than $2,500 and there is no surviving spouse, can the bank release any of the money?
Yes. Under Section 5731.39 (B) of the Ohio Revised Code, a bank can transfer a maximum of 75% if the balances on deposit.

When should E.T. Form 13 be used?
E.T. Form 13 is only needed if the date of death was prior to January 1, 2013. This form is used for releases such as annuities, non-bank keogh plans, non-bank IRAs, 401-k plans, endowments, bonuses, profit sharing plans or other pensions, death benefits, qualified retirement plans or contracts issued by an insurance company or employer.

If a decedent's safe deposit box is empty, does it need an inventory?
Yes. All safe deposit boxes must be inventoried.

Can any items be removed from a decedent's safe deposit box prior to an inventory?
Yes. The will, insurance policies and deeds to burial lots may be removed. A bank employee must witness the removal of these items.


FILING

When is it necessary to file an Ohio Estate Tax Return?
Please view the most recent Ohio Estate Tax Update here.  Estate Tax Returns must be filed within 9 months from the date of death (if prior to January 1, 2013) when the estate is valued at $25,000 or more. If the value is less than $25,000, but there is real estate, a return must be filed to clear the real estate for title purposes.

If the estate is taxable, to whom should the check be made payable?
Checks should be written to the Fairfield County Treasurer.