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Originally published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM

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House committee OKs change to state estate tax

A House committee has passed a measure making changes to the state's estate tax for married couples in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that could cost the state $160 million over the next two years.

The Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

A House committee has passed a measure making changes to the state's estate tax for married couples in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that could cost the state $160 million over the next two years.

The 8-3 vote by the House Finance Committee on Wednesday is a legislative workaround to last year's ruling by the high court, which found that the estate tax did not apply to married couples who had used a certain estate planning tool prior to 2005.

The Department of Revenue says it has already received 70 refund requests totaling between $45 million and $50 million from estates that had paid the taxes prior to the court ruling. Others have gone to court to seek refunds. The state agency plans to start processing refund requests next week, and expects to pay all refunds by the end of June, according to spokesman Mike Gowrylow.

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