CLEW Publications

Wisconsin Estate Tax Handbook

  • Authoritative analysis of significant recent federal and state tax changes
  • A comprehensive update for Wisconsin tax professionals, featuring concise explanations, practical advice, valuable warnings, and helpful suggestions in the tradition of all Neal Schmidt's publications

by Neal E. Schmidt

2003 edition, softbound, 134 pages, $40.00

Wisconsin Estate Tax Handbook was first published in 1996 and updated in 2000. This 2003 edition completely reformats and updates the 2000 and 2002 editions. It discusses the Wisconsin estate tax and fiduciary tax and provides valuable information to tax professionals about these taxes.

This new edition of the Wisconsin Estate Tax Handbook is necessitated by the federal changes enacted in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) effective June 7, 2001, and the Wisconsin Budget, 2001 Wisconsin Act 16, published on August 31, 2001, which will impact Wisconsin estates when death occurs on or after October 1, 2002.

Wisconsin will follow federal changes in the estate tax for deaths through September 30, 2002. Therefore, for the first nine months of 2002, Wisconsin will have an exemption equivalent of $1,000,000 and the dollar credit equivalent amount will be $345,800.

The new edition concisely explains Department of Revenue procedures and answers practical questions encountered by tax professionals working on an estate tax filing. Basic questions, such as: Who must file? When to file? and Where to file? are answered. The handbook also deals with complex problems, such as audits and appeals. Numerous examples, with completed tax forms, are provided.


Neal E. Schmidt was an attorney with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue from 1966 to 2002. He previously authored the Wisconsin Inheritance Estate and Gift Tax Handbook which was a staple in Wisconsin tax law libraries. Mr. Schmidt is a popular speaker on Wisconsin tax law and has spoken at the UW Law School's CLEW Tax Workshop for the past 32 years.


  • Updated and practical information on Department of Revenue procedures and forms as of March 1, 2002
  • A detailed analysis of the changes in state law regarding the taxation of irrevocable trusts
  • Answers to the most commonly asked questions; solutions to common problems; advice on avoiding typical professional errors* Numerous examples; completed tax forms
  • Expanded analyses, examples, and cautionary notes for tax professionals
  • Updated discussions of penalties, interstate issues, tax audits, fiduciary returns, credits, and exclusions
  • Federal changes enacted in 2001 that impact Wisconsin taxpayers
  • Wisconsin's response to the federal changes
  • Estate tax provisions of 2001 Wisconsin Act 16, the Wisconsin Budget

This handbook answers a variety of common questions by tax professionals, including the following:

  • Who is liable for the estate tax?
  • Who must file a Wisconsin estate tax return? What must be filed? When is the return due? When is payment due?
  • How is interest computed?
  • How do you report trust income after October 29, 1999? After October 1, 2002?
  • What assets are subject to inclusion for determining the state death tax credit allocated to Wisconsin?
  • How is the estate tax with out of state property handled? How are the apportionment issues resolved?*
  • How does an estate make the election to pay the estate tax by installments?
  • When should you consider overpaying the state death tax credit to Wisconsin to avoid interest being computed from the date of death at 12%?
  • What audit procedures does the Wisconsin Department of Revenue use?
  • What should a tax professional do when there is after discovered property in pre-1992 estates?
  • Wisconsin fiduciary tax returns: Who must file? When to File?
  • How is a closing certificate obtained? What is the impact of the closing certificate?
  • What suggestions are there for expediting the issuance of the closing certificate?
  • What appeal procedures apply to the estate tax and fiduciary tax?


The text contains numerous hypothetical tax problems. Here's one sample fact situation presented in the text:

Mr. Hector MacQueen died a resident of France on January 3, 2003. He had a grantor trust, a bank account and a brokerage account in Milwaukee which had been his residence before moving to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat in 1991. His house, contents and personal possessions in St. Jean had a value in United States' currency of $1,000,000. The total value of his intangibles in Wisconsin totaled $2,500,000. His federal gross estate was $3,500,000 with a federal taxable estate of $3,000,000. The state death tax credit before reduction would be $182,000. As death occurred in 2003, the federal state death tax credit is reduced by 50% to $91,000. With $1,000,000 of property not subject to tax in Wisconsin the percentage of state death tax credit payable to Wisconsin is $130,001. (Calculations shown in the text.)


The updated text contains numerous warnings and precautionary notes for tax professionals on such topics as: tax liability, foreign death tax payments, installment payments, refunds, overpayments, arbitration, taxation of irrevocable trusts, and the pick-up tax.

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