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IRS.gov Website
Publication 559
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099571

Other Tax Information(p9)

rule
Discussed below is information about the effect of an individual's death on the income tax liability of the survivors (including widows and widowers), the beneficiaries, and the estate.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099572

Tax Benefits for Survivors(p9)

rule
Survivors can qualify for certain benefits when filing their own income tax returns.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099573

Joint return by surviving spouse.(p9)

rule
A surviving spouse can file a joint return for the year of death and may qualify for special tax rates for the following 2 years, as explained under Qualifying widows and widowers, later.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099574

Decedent as your dependent.(p9)

rule
If the decedent qualified as your dependent for a part of the year before death, you can claim the exemption for the dependent on your tax return, regardless of when death occurred during the year.
If the decedent was your qualifying child, you may be able to claim the child tax credit or the earned income credit. To determine if you qualify for the child tax credit, see the instructions for Form 1040, line 51; Form 1040A, line 33; or Form 1040NR, line 48. To determine if you qualify for the earned income credit, see the instructions for Form 1040, lines 64a and 64b or Form 1040A, lines 38a and 38b.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099575

Qualifying widows and widowers.(p9)

rule
If your spouse died within the 2 tax years preceding the year for which your return is being filed, you may be eligible to claim the filing status of qualifying widow(er) with dependent child and qualify to use the married-filing-jointly tax rates.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099576
Requirements.(p9)
Generally, you qualify for this special benefit if you meet all of the following requirements.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099577

Example.(p9)

William Burns' wife died in 2010. William has not remarried and continued throughout 2011 and 2012 to maintain a home for himself and his dependent child. For 2010, he was entitled to file a joint return for himself and his deceased wife. For 2011 and 2012, he qualifies to file as a qualifying widower with dependent child. For later years, he may qualify to file as a head of household.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099578
Figuring your tax.(p9)
Check the box on line 5 (Form 1040 or 1040A) under Filing Status on your tax return. Use the Tax Rate Schedule or the column in the Tax Table for Married filing jointly, which gives you the split-income benefits.
The last year you can file jointly with, or claim an exemption for, your deceased spouse is the year of death.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099579

Joint return filing rules.(p9)

rule
If you are the surviving spouse and a personal representative is handling the estate for the decedent, you should coordinate filing your return for the year of death with this personal representative. See Joint Return under Final Income Tax Return for Decedent—Form 1040, earlier.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099580

Income in Respect
of a Decedent(p9)

rule
All income the decedent would have received had death not occurred that was not properly includible on the final return, discussed earlier, is income in respect of a decedent.
EIC
If the decedent is a specified terrorist victim (see Specified Terrorist Victim, earlier), income received after the date of death and before the end of the decedent's tax year (determined without regard to death) is excluded from the recipient's gross income. This exclusion does not apply to certain income. For more information, see Publication 3920.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099582

How To Report(p9)

rule
Income in respect of a decedent must be included in the income of one of the following.
Tax Tip
If you have to include income in respect of a decedent in your gross income and an estate tax return (Form 706) was filed for the decedent, you may be able to claim a deduction for the estate tax paid on that income. See Estate Tax Deduction, later.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099584

Example 1.(p9)

Frank Johnson owned and operated an apple orchard. He used the cash method of accounting. He sold and delivered 1,000 bushels of apples to a canning factory for $2,000, but did not receive payment before his death. The proceeds from the sale are income in respect of a decedent. When the estate was settled, payment had not been made and the estate transferred the right to the payment to his widow. When Frank's widow collects the $2,000, she must include that amount in her return. It is not reported on the final return of the decedent or on the return of the estate.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099585

Example 2.(p9)

Assume the same facts as in Example 1, except that Frank used the accrual method of accounting. The amount accrued from the sale of the apples would be included on his final return. Neither the estate nor the widow would realize income in respect of a decedent when the money is later paid.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099586

Example 3.(p9)

On February 1, George High, a cash method taxpayer, sold his tractor for $3,000, payable March 1 of the same year. His adjusted basis in the tractor was $2,000. George died on February 15, before receiving payment. The gain to be reported as income in respect of a decedent is the $1,000 difference between the decedent's basis in the property and the sale proceeds. In other words, the income in respect of a decedent is the gain the decedent would have realized had he lived.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099587

Example 4.(p9)

Cathy O'Neil was entitled to a large salary payment at the date of her death. The amount was to be paid in five annual installments. The estate, after collecting two installments, distributed the right to the remaining installments to you, the beneficiary. The payments are income in respect of a decedent. None of the payments were includible on Cathy's final return. The estate must include in its income the two installments it received, and you must include in your income each of the three installments as you receive them.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099588

Example 5.(p9)

You inherited the right to receive renewal commissions on life insurance sold by your father before his death. You inherited the right from your mother, who acquired it by bequest from your father. Your mother died before she received all the commissions she had the right to receive, so you received the rest. The commissions are income in respect of a decedent. None of these commissions were includible in your father's final return. The commissions received by your mother were included in her income. The commissions you received are not includible in your mother's income, even on her final return. You must include them in your income.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099589

Character of income.(p9)

rule
The character of the income you receive in respect of a decedent remains the same as it would have been to the decedent if he or she were alive. If the income would have been a capital gain to the decedent, it will be a capital gain to you.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099590

Transfer of right to income.(p9)

rule
If you transfer your right to income in respect of a decedent, you must include in your income the greater of:
If you make a gift of such a right, you must include in your income the fair market value of the right at the time of the gift.
If the right to income from an installment obligation is transferred, the amount you must include in income is reduced by the basis of the obligation. See Installment obligations, later.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099591
Transfer defined.(p10)
A transfer for this purpose includes a sale, exchange, or other disposition, the satisfaction of an installment obligation at other than face value, or the cancellation of an installment obligation.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099592

Installment obligations.(p10)

rule
If the decedent sold property using the installment method and you are collecting payments on an installment obligation acquired from the decedent, use the same gross profit percentage the decedent used to figure the part of each payment that represents profit. Include in your income the same profit the decedent would have included had death not occurred. For more information, see Publication 537, Installment Sales.
If you dispose of an installment obligation acquired from a decedent (other than by transfer to the obligor), the rules explained in Publication 537 for figuring gain or loss on the disposition apply to you.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099593
Transfer to obligor.(p10)
A transfer of a right to income, discussed earlier, has occurred if the decedent (seller) sold property using the installment method and the installment obligation was transferred to the obligor (buyer or person legally obligated to pay the installments). A transfer also occurs if the obligation was canceled either at death or by the estate or person receiving the obligation from the decedent. An obligation that becomes unenforceable is treated as having been canceled.
If such a transfer occurs, the amount included in the income of the transferor (the estate or beneficiary) is the greater of the amount received or the fair market value of the installment obligation at the time of transfer, reduced by the basis of the obligation. The basis of the obligation is the decedent's basis, adjusted for all installment payments received after the decedent's death and before the transfer.
If the decedent and obligor were related persons, the fair market value of the obligation cannot be less than its face value.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099594

Specific Types of Income
in Respect of a Decedent(p10)

rule
This section explains and provides examples of some specific types of income in respect of a decedent.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099595

Wages.(p10)

rule
The entire amount of wages or other employee compensation earned by the decedent but unpaid at the time of death is income in respect of a decedent. The income is not reduced by any amounts withheld by the employer. If the income is $600 or more, the employer should report it in box 3 of Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, and give the recipient a copy of the form or a similar statement.
Wages paid as income in respect of a decedent are not subject to federal income tax withholding. However, if paid during the calendar year of death, they are subject to withholding for social security and Medicare taxes. These taxes should be included on the decedent's Form W-2 along with the taxes withheld before death. These wages are not included in box 1 of Form W-2.
Wages paid as income in respect of a decedent after the year of death generally are not subject to withholding for any federal taxes.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099596

Farm income from crops, crop shares, and livestock.(p10)

rule
A farmer's growing crops and livestock at the date of death normally would not give rise to income in respect of a decedent or income to be included in the final return. However, when a cash method farmer receives rent in the form of crop shares or livestock and owns the crop shares or livestock at the time of death, the rent is income in respect of a decedent and is reported in the year in which the crop shares or livestock are sold or otherwise disposed of. The same treatment applies to crop shares or livestock that the decedent had a right to receive as rent at the time of death for economic activities that occurred before death.
If the individual died during a rental period, only the proceeds from the part of the rental period ending on the date of death are income in respect of a decedent. The proceeds from the rental period from the day after death to the end of the rental period are income to the estate. Cash rent or crop shares and livestock received as rent and reduced to cash by the decedent are includible on the final return even though the rental period did not end until after death.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099597

Example.(p10)

Alonzo Roberts, who used the cash method of accounting, leased part of his farm for a 1-year period beginning March 1. The rental was one-third of the crop, payable in cash when the crop share is sold at the direction of Alonzo. He died on June 30 and was alive during 122 days of the rental period. Seven months later, Alonzo's personal representative ordered the crop to be sold and was paid $1,500. Of the $1,500, 122/365, or $501, is income in respect of a decedent. The balance of the $1,500 received by the estate, $999, is income to the estate.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099598

Partnership income.(p10)

rule
If the decedent had been receiving payments representing a distributive share or guaranteed payment in liquidation of his or her interest in a partnership, the remaining payments made to the estate or other successor in interest are income in respect of a decedent. The estate or the successor receiving the payments must include them in income when received. Similarly, the estate or other successor in interest receives income in respect of a decedent if amounts are paid by a third person in exchange for the successor's right to the future payments.
For a discussion of partnership rules, see Publication 541, Partnerships.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099599

U.S. savings bonds acquired from decedent.(p10)

rule
If series EE or series I U.S. savings bonds, owned by a cash method taxpayer who reported the interest each year, or by an accrual method taxpayer are transferred because of death, the increase in value of the bonds (interest earned) in the year of death up to the date of death must be reported on the decedent's final return. The transferee (estate or beneficiary) reports on its return only the interest earned after the date of death.
The redemption values of U.S. savings bonds generally are available from local banks, credit unions, savings and loan institutions, or your nearest Federal Reserve Bank.
You also can get information by writing to the following address.
Due date
Series EE and I
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Division of Customer Assistance
P.O. Box 7015
Parkersburg, WV 26106-7015
EIC
Or, on the Internet, visit:
www.treasurydirect.gov.
If the bonds transferred because of death were owned by a cash method taxpayer who chose not to report the interest each year and had purchased the bonds entirely with personal funds, interest earned before death must be reported in one of the following ways.
  1. The person (executor, administrator, etc.) who is required to file the decedent's final income tax return can elect to include all of the interest earned on the bonds before the decedent's death on the return. The transferee (estate or beneficiary) then includes only the interest earned after the date of death on its return.
  2. If the election in (1), above, was not made, the interest earned to the date of death is income in respect of the decedent and is not included on the decedent's final return. In this case, all of the interest earned before and after the decedent's death is income to the transferee (estate or beneficiary). A transferee who uses the cash method of accounting and who has chosen not to report the interest annually may defer reporting any of it as income until the bonds are either cashed or reach the date of maturity, whichever is earlier. In the year the interest is reported, the transferee may claim a deduction for any federal estate tax paid that arose because of the part of interest (if any) included in the decedent's estate.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099602

Example 1.(p10)

Your uncle, a cash method taxpayer, died and left you a $1,000 series EE bond. He bought the bond for $500 and had not chosen to report the increase in value each year. At the date of death, interest of $94 had accrued on the bond, and its value of $594 at date of death was included in your uncle's estate. Your uncle's personal representative did not choose to include the $94 accrued interest on the decedent's final income tax return. You are a cash method taxpayer and do not choose to report the increase in value each year as it is earned. Assuming you cash it when it reaches maturity value of $1,000, you would report $500 interest income (the difference between maturity value of $1,000 and the original cost of $500) in that year. You also are entitled to claim, in that year, a deduction for any federal estate tax resulting from the inclusion in your uncle's estate of the $94 increase in value.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099603

Example 2.(p10)

If, in Example 1, the personal representative had chosen to include the $94 interest earned on the bond before death in the final income tax return of your uncle, you would report $406 ($500 − $94) as interest when you cashed the bond at maturity. This $406 represents the interest earned after your uncle's death and was not included in his estate, so no deduction for federal estate tax is allowable for this amount.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099604

Example 3.(p11)

Your uncle died owning series HH bonds he acquired in exchange for series EE bonds. You were the beneficiary on these bonds. Your uncle used the cash method of accounting and had not chosen to report the increase in redemption price of the series EE bonds each year as it accrued. Your uncle's personal representative made no election to include any interest earned before death on the decedent's final return. Your income in respect of the decedent is the sum of the unreported increase in value of the series EE bonds, which constituted part of the amount paid for series HH bonds, and the interest, if any, payable on the series HH bonds but not received as of the date of the decedent's death.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099605
Specific dollar amount legacy satisfied by transfer of bonds.(p11)
If a beneficiary receives series EE or series I bonds from an estate in satisfaction of a specific dollar amount legacy and the decedent was a cash method taxpayer who did not elect to report interest each year, only the interest earned after receipt of the bonds is income to the beneficiary. The interest earned to the date of death plus any further interest earned to the date of distribution is income to (and reportable by) the estate.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099606
Cashing U.S. savings bonds.(p11)
When you cash a U.S. savings bond that you acquired from a decedent, the bank or other payer that redeems it must give you a Form 1099-INT if the interest part of the payment you receive is $10 or more. Your Form 1099-INT should show the difference between the amount received and the cost of the bond. The interest shown on your Form 1099-INT will not be reduced by any interest reported by the decedent before death, or, if elected, by the personal representative on the final income tax return of the decedent, or by the estate on the estate's income tax return. Your Form 1099-INT may show more interest than you must include in your income.
You must make an adjustment on your tax return to report the correct amount of interest. Report the total interest shown on Form 1099-INT on your Schedule B (Form 1040A or 1040). Enter a subtotal of the interest shown on Forms 1099, and the interest reportable from other sources for which you did not receive Forms 1099. Show the total interest that was previously reported and subtract it from the subtotal. Identify this adjustment as "U.S. Savings Bond Interest Previously Reported."
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099607

Interest accrued on U.S. Treasury bonds.(p11)

rule
The interest accrued on U.S. Treasury bonds owned by a cash method taxpayer and redeemable for the payment of federal estate taxes that was not received as of the date of the individual's death is income in respect of a decedent. This interest is not included in the decedent's final income tax return. The estate will treat such interest as taxable income in the tax year received if it chooses to redeem the U.S. Treasury bonds to pay federal estate taxes. If the person entitled to the bonds (by bequest, devise, or inheritance, or because of the death of the individual) receives them, that person will treat the accrued interest as taxable income in the year the interest is received. Interest that accrues on the U.S. Treasury bonds after the owner's death does not represent income in respect of a decedent. The interest, however, is taxable income and must be included in the income of the respective recipients.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099608

Interest accrued on savings certificates.(p11)

rule
The interest accrued on savings certificates (redeemable after death without forfeiture of interest) for the period from the date of the last interest payment and ending with the date of the decedent's death, but not received as of that date, is income in respect of a decedent. Interest accrued after the decedent's death that becomes payable on the certificates after death is not income in respect of a decedent, but is taxable income includible in the income of the respective recipients.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099609

Inherited IRAs.(p11)

rule
If a beneficiary receives a lump-sum distribution from a traditional IRA he or she inherited, all or some of it may be taxable. The distribution is taxable in the year received as income in respect of a decedent up to the decedent's taxable balance. This is the decedent's balance at the time of death, including unrealized appreciation and income accrued to date of death, minus any basis (nondeductible contributions). Amounts distributed that are more than the decedent's entire IRA balance (includes taxable and nontaxable amounts) at the time of death are the income of the beneficiary.
If the beneficiary of a traditional IRA is the decedent's surviving spouse who properly rolls over the distribution into another traditional IRA, the distribution is not currently taxed. A surviving spouse can also roll over tax free the taxable part of the distribution into a qualified plan, section 403 annuity, or section 457 plan.
For more information on inherited IRAs, see Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099612

Roth IRAs.(p11)

rule
Qualified distributions from a Roth IRA are not subject to tax. A distribution made to a beneficiary or to the Roth IRA owner's estate on or after the date of death is a qualified distribution if it is made after the 5-tax-year period beginning with the first tax year in which a contribution was made to any Roth IRA of the owner.
Generally, the entire interest in the Roth IRA must be distributed by the end of the fifth calendar year after the year of the owner's death unless the interest is payable to a designated beneficiary over his or her life or life expectancy. If paid as an annuity, the distributions must begin before the end of the calendar year following the year of death. If the sole beneficiary is the decedent's spouse, the spouse can delay the distributions until the decedent would have reached age 701/2 or can treat the Roth IRA as his or her own Roth IRA.
The part of any distribution made to a beneficiary that is not a qualified distribution may be includible in the beneficiary's income. Generally, the part includible is the earnings in the Roth IRA. Earnings attributable to the period ending with the decedent's date of death are income in respect of a decedent. Additional earnings are the income of the beneficiary.
For more information on Roth IRAs, see Publication 590.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099613

Coverdell education savings account (ESA).(p11)

rule
Generally, the balance in a Coverdell ESA must be distributed within 30 days after the individual for whom the account was established reaches age 30 or dies, whichever is earlier. The treatment of the Coverdell ESA at the death of an individual under age 30 depends on who acquires the interest in the account. If the decedent's estate acquires the interest, see the discussion under Final Income Tax Return for Decedent—Form 1040, earlier.
EIC
The age 30 limitation does not apply if the individual for whom the account was established or the beneficiary that acquires the account is an individual with special needs. This includes an individual who, because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition (including a learning disability), requires additional time to complete his or her education.
If the decedent's spouse or other family member is the designated beneficiary of the decedent's account, the Coverdell ESA becomes that person's Coverdell ESA. It is subject to the rules discussed in Publication 970.
Any other beneficiary (including a spouse or family member who is not the designated beneficiary) must include in income the earnings portion of the distribution. Any balance remaining at the close of the 30-day period is deemed to be distributed at that time. The amount included in income is reduced by any qualified education expenses of the decedent that are paid by the beneficiary within one year after the decedent's date of death. An estate tax deduction, discussed later, applies to the amount included in income by a beneficiary other than the decedent's spouse or family member.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099615

HSA, Archer MSA, or a Medicare Advantage MSA.(p11)

rule
The treatment of an HSA, Archer MSA, or a Medicare Advantage MSA at the death of the account holder depends on who acquires the interest in the account. If the decedent's estate acquired the interest, see the discussion under Final Income Tax Return for Decedent—Form 1040, earlier.
If the decedent's spouse is the designated beneficiary of the account, the account becomes that spouse's Archer MSA. It is subject to the rules discussed in Publication 969.
Any other beneficiary (including a spouse that is not the designated beneficiary) must include in income the fair market value of the assets in the account on the decedent's date of death. This amount must be reported for the beneficiary's tax year that includes the decedent's date of death. The amount included in income is reduced by any qualified medical expenses for the decedent paid by the beneficiary within one year after the decedent's date of death. An estate tax deduction, discussed later, applies to the amount included in income by a beneficiary other than the decedent's spouse.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099616

Deductions in Respect
of a Decedent(p12)

rule
Items such as business expenses, income-producing expenses, interest, and taxes, for which the decedent was liable but that are not properly allowable as deductions on the decedent's final income tax return will be allowed as a deduction to one of the following when paid:
Note.Similar treatment is given to the foreign tax credit. A beneficiary who must pay a foreign tax on income in respect of a decedent will be entitled to claim the foreign tax credit.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099617

Depletion.(p12)

rule
The deduction for percentage depletion is allowable only to the person (estate or beneficiary) who receives income in respect of a decedent to which the deduction relates, whether or not that person receives the property from which the income is derived. An heir who (because of the decedent's death) receives income as a result of the sale of units of mineral by the decedent (who used the cash method) will be entitled to the depletion allowance for that income. If the decedent had not figured the deduction on the basis of percentage depletion, any depletion deduction to which the decedent was entitled at the time of death is allowable on the decedent's final return, and no depletion deduction in respect of a decedent is allowed to anyone else.
For more information about depletion, see chapter 9 in Publication 535, Business Expenses.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099618

Estate Tax Deduction(p12)

rule
Income that the decedent had a right to receive is included in the decedent's gross estate and is subject to estate tax. This income in respect of a decedent is also taxed when received by the recipient (estate or beneficiary). However, an income tax deduction is allowed to the recipient for the estate tax paid on the income.
The deduction for estate tax paid can only be claimed for the same tax year in which the income in respect of a decedent must be included in the recipient's income. (This also is true for income in respect of a prior decedent.)
Individuals can claim this deduction only as an itemized deduction on line 28 of Schedule A (Form 1040). This deduction is not subject to the 2% limit on miscellaneous itemized deductions. Estates can claim the deduction on line 19 of Form 1041. For the alternative minimum tax computation, the deduction is not included as an itemized deduction that is an adjustment to taxable income.
If income in respect of a decedent is capital gain income, you must reduce the gain, but not below zero, by any deduction for estate tax paid on such gain. This applies in figuring the following.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099619

Computation(p12)

rule
To figure a recipient's estate tax deduction, determine:
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099620

Deductible estate tax.(p12)

rule
The estate tax is the tax on the taxable estate, reduced by any credits allowed. The estate tax qualifying for the deduction is the part of the net value of all the items in the estate that represents income in respect of a decedent. Net value is the excess of the items of income in respect of a decedent over the items of expenses in respect of a decedent. The deductible estate tax is the difference between the actual estate tax and the estate tax determined without including net value.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099621

Example 1.(p12)

Jack Sage used the cash method of accounting. At the time of his death, he was entitled to receive $12,000 from clients for his services and he had accrued bond interest of $8,000, for a total income in respect of a decedent of $20,000. He also owed $5,000 for business expenses for which his estate is liable. The income and expenses are reported on Jack's estate tax return.
The tax on Jack's estate is $9,460, after credits. The net value of the items included as income in respect of the decedent is $15,000 ($20,000 − $5,000). The estate tax determined without including the $15,000 in the taxable estate is $4,840, after credits. The estate tax that qualifies for the deduction is $4,620 ($9,460 − $4,840).
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099622

Recipient's deductible part.(p12)

rule
Figure the recipient's part of the deductible estate tax by dividing the estate tax value of the items of income in respect of a decedent included in the recipient's income (the numerator) by the total value of all items included in the estate that represents income in respect of a decedent (the denominator). If the amount included in the recipient's income is less than the estate tax value of the item, use the lesser amount in the numerator.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099623

Example 2.(p12)

As the beneficiary of Jack's estate (Example 1), you collect the $12,000 accounts receivable from his clients. You will include the $12,000 in your income in the tax year you receive it. If you itemize your deductions in that tax year, you can claim an estate tax deduction of $2,772 figured as follows:
Value included in your income X
Estate tax qualifying for deduction
Total value of income in respect of decedent

 
$12,000

X

$4,620

=

$2,772
 $20,000
If the amount you collected for the accounts receivable was more than $12,000, you would still claim $2,772 as an estate tax deduction because only the $12,000 actually reported on the estate tax return can be used in the above computation. However, if you collected less than the $12,000 reported on the estate tax return, use the smaller amount to figure the estate tax deduction.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099624

Estates.(p12)

rule
The estate tax deduction allowed to an estate is figured in the same manner discussed earlier. However, any income in respect of a decedent received by the estate during the tax year is reduced by any such income properly paid, credited, or required to be distributed by the estate to a beneficiary. The beneficiary would include such distributed income in respect of a decedent for figuring the beneficiary's estate tax deduction.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099625

Surviving annuitants.(p12)

rule
For the estate tax deduction, an annuity received by a surviving annuitant under a joint and survivor annuity contract is considered income in respect of a decedent. The deceased annuitant must have died after the annuity starting date. You must make a special computation to figure the estate tax deduction for the surviving annuitant. See Regulations section 1.691(d)-1.
taxmap/pubs/p559-002.htm#en_us_publink100099626

Gifts, Insurance,
and Inheritances(p12)

rule
Property received as a gift, bequest, or inheritance is not included in your income. However, if property you receive in this manner later produces income, such as interest, dividends, or rents, that income is taxable to you. The income from property donated to a trust that is paid, credited, or distributed to you is taxable income to you. If the gift, bequest, or inheritance is the income from property, that income is taxable to you.
If you receive property from a decedent's estate in satisfaction of your right to the income of the estate, it is treated as a bequest or inheritance of income from property. See Distributions to Beneficiaries, later.
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Insurance(p12)

rule
The proceeds from a decedent's life insurance policy paid by reason of his or her death generally are excluded from income. The exclusion applies to any beneficiary, whether a family member or other individual, a corporation, or a partnership.
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Veterans' insurance proceeds.(p12)

rule
Veterans' insurance proceeds and dividends are not taxable either to the veteran or to the beneficiaries.
Interest on dividends left on deposit with the Department of Veterans Affairs is not taxable.
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Life insurance proceeds.(p12)

rule
Life insurance proceeds paid to a beneficiary because of the death of the insured (or because the insured is a member of the U.S. uniformed services who is missing in action) are not taxable unless the policy was turned over to the recipient for a price. This is true even if the proceeds are paid under an accident or health insurance policy or an endowment contract. If the proceeds are received in installments, see the discussion under Insurance received in installments, later.
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Accelerated death benefits.(p13)

rule
A beneficiary can exclude from income accelerated death benefits received on the life of an insured individual if certain requirements are met. Accelerated death benefits are amounts received under a life insurance contract before the death of the insured. These benefits also include amounts received on the sale or assignment of the contract to a viatical settlement provider. This exclusion applies only if the insured was a terminally ill individual or a chronically ill individual. This exclusion does not apply if the insured is a director, officer, employee, or has a financial interest, in any trade or business carried on by the beneficiary.
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Terminally ill individual.(p13)
A terminally ill individual is one who has been certified by a physician as having an illness or physical condition that reasonably can be expected to result in death in 24 months or less from the date of certification.
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Chronically ill individual.(p13)
A chronically ill individual is one who has been certified as one of the following.
A certification must have been made by a licensed health care practitioner within the previous 12 months.
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Exclusion limited.(p13)
If the insured was a chronically ill individual, exclusion of accelerated death benefits is limited to the cost incurred in providing qualified long-term care services for the insured. In determining the cost incurred, do not include amounts paid or reimbursed by insurance or otherwise. Subject to certain limits, exclude payments received on a periodic basis without regard to costs.
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Interest option on insurance.(p13)

rule
If an insurance company pays interest only on proceeds from life insurance left on deposit, the interest is taxable.
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Insurance received in installments.(p13)

rule
If a beneficiary receives life insurance proceeds in installments, he or she can exclude part of each installment from income.
To determine the part excluded, divide the amount held by the insurance company (generally the total lump sum payable at the death of the insured person) by the number of installments to be paid. Include anything over this excluded part in income as interest.
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Specified number of installments.(p13)
If a beneficiary will receive a specified number of installments under the insurance contract, figure the part of each installment he or she can exclude by dividing the amount held by the insurance company by the number of installments to which he or she is entitled. In case he or she dies before receiving all the installments, a secondary beneficiary is entitled to the same exclusion.
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Example.(p13)

As beneficiary, you choose to receive $100,000 of life insurance proceeds in 10 annual installments of $11,000. Each year, you can exclude from your income $10,000 ($100,000 ÷ 10) as a return of principal. The balance of the installment, $1,000, is taxable as interest income.
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Specified amount payable.(p13)
If each installment received under the insurance contract is a specific amount based on a guaranteed rate of interest, but the number of installments that will be received is uncertain, the part of each installment excluded from income is the amount held by the insurance company divided by the number of installments necessary to use up the principal and guaranteed interest in the contract.
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Example.(p13)

The face amount of the policy is $200,000, and as beneficiary you choose to receive annual installments of $12,000. The insurer's settlement option guarantees you this amount for 20 years based on a guaranteed rate of interest. It also provides that extra interest may be credited to the principal balance according to the insurer's earnings. The excludable part of each guaranteed installment is $10,000 ($200,000 ÷ 20 years). The balance of each guaranteed installment, $2,000, is interest income to you. The full amount of any additional payment for interest is income to you.
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Installments for life.(p13)
If the beneficiary under an insurance contract is entitled to receive the proceeds in installments for the rest of his or her life without a refund or period-certain guarantee, the excluded part of each installment can be determined by dividing the amount held by the insurance company by his or her life expectancy. If there is a refund or period-certain guarantee, the amount held by the insurance company for this purpose is reduced by the actuarial value of the guarantee.
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Example.(p13)

As beneficiary, you choose to receive the $50,000 proceeds from a life insurance contract under a life-income-with-
cash-refund option. You are guaranteed $2,700 a year for the rest of your life (which is estimated by use of mortality tables to be 25 years from the insured's death). The actuarial value of the refund feature is $9,000. The amount held by the insurance company, reduced by the value of the guarantee, is $41,000 ($50,000 − $9,000) and the excludable part of each installment representing a return of principal is $1,640 ($41,000 ÷ 25). The remaining $1,060 ($2,700 − $1,640) is interest income to you. If you should die before receiving the entire $50,000, the refund payable to the refund beneficiary is not taxable.
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Flexible premium contracts.(p13)

rule
A life insurance contract (including any qualified additional benefits) qualifies as a flexible premium life insurance contract if it provides for the payment of one or more premiums that are not fixed by the insurer as to both timing and amount. For a flexible premium contract issued before January 1, 1985, the proceeds paid under the contract because of the death of the insured will be excluded from the recipient's income only if the contract meets the requirements explained under section 101(f).
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Basis of Inherited Property(p13)

rule
The basis of property inherited from a decedent is generally one of the following.
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Exception for appreciated property.(p13)

rule
If you or your spouse gave appreciated property to an individual during the 1-year period ending on the date of that individual's death and you (or your spouse) later acquired the same property from the decedent, your basis in the property is the same as the decedent's adjusted basis immediately before death.
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Appreciated property.(p13)
Appreciated property is property that had an FMV greater than its adjusted basis on the day it was transferred to the decedent.
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Special-use valuation.(p13)

rule
If you are a qualified heir and you receive a farm or other closely held business real property from the estate for which the personal representative elected special-use valuation, the property is valued on the basis of its actual use rather than its FMV.
If you are a qualified heir and you buy special-use valuation property from the estate, your basis is equal to the estate's basis (determined under the special-use valuation method) immediately before your purchase plus any gain recognized by the estate.
You are a qualified heir if you are an ancestor (parent, grandparent, etc.), the spouse, or a lineal descendant (child, grandchild, etc.) of the decedent, a lineal descendant of the decedent's parent or spouse, or the spouse of any of these lineal descendants.
For more information on special-use valuation, see the instructions for Form 706.
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Increased basis for special-use valuation property.(p13)
Under certain conditions, some or all of the estate tax benefits obtained by using the special-use valuation will be subject to recapture. Generally, an additional estate tax must be paid by the qualified heir if the property is disposed of, or is no longer used for a qualifying purpose within 10 years of the decedent's death.
If you must pay any additional estate (recapture) tax, you can elect to increase your basis in the special-use valuation property to its FMV on the date of the decedent's death (or on the alternate valuation date, if it was elected by the personal representative). If you elect to increase your basis, you must pay interest on the recapture tax for the period beginning 9 months after the decedent's death until the date you pay the recapture tax.
For more information on the recapture tax, see the Instructions for Form 706-A, United States Additional Estate Tax Return.
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S corporation stock.(p14)

rule
The basis of inherited S corporation stock must be reduced if there is income in respect of a decedent attributable to that stock.
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Joint interest.(p14)

rule
Figure the surviving tenant's new basis of jointly owned property (joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety) by adding the surviving tenant's original basis in the property to the value of the part of the property included in the decedent's estate, discussed earlier. Subtract from the sum any deductions for wear and tear, such as depreciation or depletion, allowed to the surviving tenant on that property.
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Example.(p14)

Fred Maple and his sister Anne owned, as joint tenants with right of survivorship, rental property they purchased for $60,000. Anne paid $15,000 of the purchase price and Fred paid $45,000. Under local law, each had a half interest in the income from the property. When Fred died, the FMV of the property was $100,000. Depreciation deductions allowed before Fred's death were $20,000. Anne's basis in the property is $80,000 figured as follows:
Anne's original basis$15,000 
Interest acquired from Fred (3/4 of $100,000) 75,000$90,000
Minus: 1/2 of $20,000 depreciation 10,000
Anne's basis$80,000
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Qualified joint interest.(p14)
One-half of the value of property owned by a decedent and spouse as tenants by the entirety, or as joint tenants with right of survivorship if the decedent and spouse are the only joint tenants, is included in the decedent's gross estate. This is true regardless of how much each contributed toward the purchase price.
Figure the basis for a surviving spouse by adding one-half of the property's cost basis to the value included in the gross estate. Subtract from this sum any deductions for wear and tear, such as depreciation or depletion, allowed on that property to the surviving spouse.
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Example.(p14)

Dan and Diane Gilbert owned, as tenants by the entirety, rental property they purchased for $60,000. Dan paid $15,000 of the purchase price and Diane paid $45,000. Under local law, each had a half interest in the income from the property. When Diane died, the FMV of the property was $100,000. Depreciation deductions allowed before Diane's death were $20,000. Dan's basis in the property is $70,000 figured as follows:
One-half of cost basis (1/2 of
$60,000)
$30,000 
Interest acquired from Diane (1/2 of $100,000) 50,000$80,000
Minus: 1/2 of $20,000 depreciation 10,000
Dan's basis$70,000
See Publication 551, Basis of Assets, for more information on basis. If the decedent and his or her spouse lived in a community property state, see the discussion in that publication about figuring the basis of community property after a spouse's death.
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Depreciation.(p14)

rule
If a beneficiary can depreciate inherited property, the modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) must be used to determine depreciation.
For joint interests and qualified joint interests, use the following computations to figure depreciation. Continue depreciating the original basis under the same method used in previous years. Depreciate the inherited part using MACRS.
MACRS consists of two depreciation systems, the General Depreciation System (GDS) and the Alternative Depreciation System (ADS). For more information on MACRS, see Publication 946, How To Depreciate Property.
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Valuation misstatements.(p14)

rule
If the value or adjusted basis of any property claimed on an income tax return is 150% or more of the amount determined to be the correct amount, there is a substantial valuation misstatement. If the value or adjusted basis is 200% or more of the amount determined to be the correct amount, there is a gross valuation misstatement.
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Understatements.(p14)
A substantial estate or gift tax valuation misstatement occurs when the value of property reported is 65% or less of the actual value of the property. A gross valuation misstatement occurs if any property on a return is valued at 40% or less of the value determined to be correct.
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Penalty.(p14)
If a misstatement results in an underpayment of tax of more than $5,000, an addition to tax of 20% of the underpayment can apply. The penalty increases to 40% if the value or adjusted basis reported is a gross valuation misstatement.
The IRS may waive all or part of the 20% addition to tax (for substantial valuation overstatement) if the following apply.
No waiver is available for the 40% addition to tax (for gross valuation overstatement).
For transitional guidance on the definitions of "qualified appraisal" and "qualified appraiser," see Notice 2006-96, 2006-46 I.R.B. 902, available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb06-46.pdf.
The definitions apply to appraisals prepared for the following.
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Holding period.(p14)

rule
If you sell or dispose of inherited property that is a capital asset, the gain or loss is considered long-term, regardless of how long you held the property.
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Property distributed in kind.(p14)

rule
Your basis in property distributed in kind by a decedent's estate is the same as the estate's basis immediately before the distribution plus any gain, or minus any loss, recognized by the estate. Property is distributed in kind if it satisfies your right to receive another property or amount, such as the income of the estate or a specific dollar amount. Property distributed in kind generally includes any noncash property you receive from the estate other than the following: For information on an estate's recognized gain or loss on distributions in kind, see Income To Include under Income Tax Return of an Estate—Form 1041, later.
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Other Items of Income(p14)

rule
Some other items of income that a survivor or beneficiary may receive are discussed below. Lump-sum payments received by the surviving spouse or beneficiary of a deceased employee may represent the following. The treatment of these lump-sum payments depends on what the payments represent.
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Public safety officers.(p14)

rule
Special rules apply to certain amounts received due to the death of a public safety officer (a law enforcement officer, fire fighter, chaplain, or member of an ambulance crew or rescue squad).
EIC
The provisions for public safety officers apply to a chaplain killed in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, if the chaplain was responding to a fire, rescue, or police emergency as a member or employee of a fire or police department.
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Death benefits.(p14)
The death benefit payable to eligible survivors of public safety officers who die as a result of traumatic injuries sustained in the line of duty is not included in either the beneficiaries' income or the decedent's gross estate. This benefit is administered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
The BJA can pay the eligible survivors an emergency interim benefit up to $3,000 if it determines that a public safety officer's death is one for which a death benefit will probably be paid. If there is no final payment, the recipient of the interim benefit is liable for repayment. However, the BJA may waive all or part of the repayment if it will cause a hardship. Any repayment waived is not included in income.
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Survivor benefits.(p15)
Generally, a survivor annuity received by the spouse, former spouse, or child of a public safety officer killed in the line of duty is excluded from the recipient's income. The annuity must be provided under a government plan and is excludable to the extent that it is attributable to the officer's service as a public safety officer.
The exclusion does not apply if the recipient's actions were responsible for the officer's death. It also does not apply in the following circumstances.
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Salary or wages.(p15)

rule
Salary or wages paid after the employee's death are usually taxable income to the beneficiary. See Wages, earlier, under Specific Types of Income in Respect of a Decedent.
EIC
If the decedent is a specified terrorist victim (see Specified Terrorist Victim, earlier), certain income received by the beneficiary or the estate is not taxable. For more information, see Publication 3920.
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Rollover distributions.(p15)

rule
An employee's surviving spouse who receives an eligible rollover distribution may roll it over tax free into an IRA, a qualified plan, a section 403 annuity, or a section 457 plan. For more information, see Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, and Form 4972, Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions.
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Rollovers by nonspouse beneficiary.(p15)
A beneficiary other than the employee's surviving spouse may be able to roll over all or part of a distribution from an eligible retirement plan of a deceased employee. The nonspouse beneficiary must be the designated beneficiary of the employee. The distribution must be a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer to his or her IRA set up to receive the distribution. The transfer will be treated as an eligible rollover distribution and the receiving plan will be treated as an inherited IRA. For more information on inherited IRAs, see Publication 590.
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Pensions and annuities.(p15)

rule
For beneficiaries who receive pensions and annuities, see Publication 575. For beneficiaries of federal civil service employees or retirees, see Publication 721, Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits.
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Inherited IRAs.(p15)

rule
If a person other than the decedent's spouse inherits the decedent's traditional IRA or Roth IRA, that person cannot treat the IRA as one established on his or her behalf. If a distribution from a traditional IRA is from contributions that were deducted or from earnings and gains in the IRA, it is fully taxable income. If there were nondeductible contributions, an allocation between taxable and nontaxable income must be made. For information on distributions from a Roth IRA, see the discussion earlier under Income in Respect of a Decedent. The inherited IRA cannot be rolled over into, or receive a rollover from, another IRA. No deduction is allowed for amounts paid into that inherited IRA. For more information about IRAs, see Publication 590.
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Estate income.(p15)

rule
Estates may have to pay federal income tax. Beneficiaries may have to pay tax on their share of estate income. However, there is never a double tax. See Distributions to Beneficiaries, later.