As of 2015, the federal inheritance, or estate, tax rate is 40 percent, according to Bankrate. The first $5.43 million of an estate is exempt and not taxed by the IRS.
The exemption, or amount that heirs can inherit without paying tax, is adjusted each year to account for inflation, advises Bankrate. In addition, the exemption amount is calculated per person, so a husband and wife can each leave up to $5.43 million, or a total of $10.86 million, as of 2015, to heirs without paying tax, states Forbes.
The taxable estate includes cash, real estate, trusts, business assets, securities, insurance and other assets, advises the IRS. The IRS allows deductions for charitable donations, debts, and expenses of administering the estate to reduce estate tax owed.