Census Bureau figures released March 30, 2009, show that about 2.5 percent of Pennsylvania's 2008 revenue came from "death and gift" taxes. Surprisingly, that percentage of government income is the highest of any state. Death taxes can take one of two forms - a tax on the estate of the deceased or a tax on the amounts inherited by survivors. Today, Pennsylvania only has an inheritance tax. The inheritance tax is imposed on the value of the decedent's estate transferred to beneficiaries by will or intestacy. For dates of death on or after July 1, 2000, the tax rate for Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is 4.5 percent for transfers to direct descendants (lineal heirs), 12 percent for transfers to siblings, and 15 percent for transfers to other heirs (except charitable organizations, exempt institutions, and government entities). Inheritance tax payments are due upon the death of the decedent and become delinquent nine months after the individual's death. If the tax is paid within three months of the decedent's death, a 5% discount is allowed. [THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED AS A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW IN PA AND IS NOT MEANT TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTION OR ISSUE, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE]
Recent events dealing with gun violence in Pittsburgh, PA, Binghamton, N.Y., and Graham, Washington, has sparked a renewed debate over gun laws across the country. Nationally, gun sales are reported to be on the rise. Accordingly, from November 2008 through March 2009, FBI background checks, which are required every time a federally licensed gun dealer makes a sale, rose 29.3% over the same period a year earlier. Thus, anyone interested in owning a firearm in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should be aware of the laws. It should also be noted that there is a difference in Pennsylvania between owning a firearm and carrying a firearm. Specifically, the minimum age to own a firearm is 18. However, there are recognized exceptions to this rule for minor's who wish to own a firearm. Additionally, there is no firearm registry in the Commonwealth. Thus, if you legally posses and bring your firearms into Pennsylvania no further action is required. However, all transfers of handguns in Pennsylvania are required to go through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and as such the Pennsylvania State Police keep a Sales Database of all handguns purchased within the Commonwealth. If you wish to carry your legally owned firearm outside your home or business, you must obtain a License To Carry Firearms from the state. Anyone who is found carrying a firearm outside their home or business without the license is committing a felony. THE FOREGOING IS INTEDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEAES CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.
As of last week, the "Final Four" of the NCAA men's basketball tournament was finalized. While many devoted fans of the remaining teams will be in high spirits this upcoming weekend, another less identifiable fan base will be cheering just as loud. This group of fans has money illegally wagered on the outcome of the games.According to the National Gaming Impact Study Commission, $380 billion a year is spent on illegal sports betting. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal law, makes it unlawful for a person to sponsor, operate, advertise, or promote a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based, directly or indirectly on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate. Currently, only four states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon) have legal forms of sports betting.However, a state senator from New Jersey has recently filed a federal law suit seeking to overturn The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 and allow the state of New Jersey an opportunity to profit from the betting. The lawsuit argues that the federal law is unconstitutional because it treats the four identified states differently from the rest. States across the country are looking into gambling as a source of income amid the current economic times.THE FOREGOING IS A GENERAL DISCUSSION ON THE LAW. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE.