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IRS.gov Website
Publication 590
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230538

What if You Inherit an IRA?(p18)

rule
If you inherit a traditional IRA, you are called a beneficiary. A beneficiary can be any person or entity the owner chooses to receive the benefits of the IRA after he or she dies. Beneficiaries of a traditional IRA must include in their gross income any taxable distributions they receive.
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230539

Inherited from spouse.(p18)

rule
If you inherit a traditional IRA from your spouse, you generally have the following three choices. You can:
  1. Treat it as your own IRA by designating yourself as the account owner.
  2. Treat it as your own by rolling it over into your IRA, or to the extent it is taxable, into a:
    1. Qualified employer plan,
    2. Qualified employee annuity plan (section 403(a) plan),
    3. Tax-sheltered annuity plan (section 403(b) plan),
    4. Deferred compensation plan of a state or local government (section 457 plan), or
  3. Treat yourself as the beneficiary rather than treating the IRA as your own.
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230540
Treating it as your own.(p18)
You will be considered to have chosen to treat the IRA as your own if: You will only be considered to have chosen to treat the IRA as your own if:
However, if you receive a distribution from your deceased spouse's IRA, you can roll that distribution over into your own IRA within the 60-day time limit, as long as the distribution is not a required distribution, even if you are not the sole beneficiary of your deceased spouse's IRA. For more information, see When Must You Withdraw Assets? (Required Minimum Distributions), later.
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230542

Inherited from someone other than spouse.(p22)

rule
If you inherit a traditional IRA from anyone other than your deceased spouse, you cannot treat the inherited IRA as your own. This means that you cannot make any contributions to the IRA. It also means you cannot roll over any amounts into or out of the inherited IRA. However, you can make a trustee-to-trustee transfer as long as the IRA into which amounts are being moved is set up and maintained in the name of the deceased IRA owner for the benefit of you as beneficiary.
Like the original owner, you generally will not owe tax on the assets in the IRA until you receive distributions from it. You must begin receiving distributions from the IRA under the rules for distributions that apply to beneficiaries.
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230543

IRA with basis.(p22)

rule
If you inherit a traditional IRA from a person who had a basis in the IRA because of nondeductible contributions, that basis remains with the IRA. Unless you are the decedent's spouse and choose to treat the IRA as your own, you cannot combine this basis with any basis you have in your own traditional IRA(s) or any basis in traditional IRA(s) you inherited from other decedents. If you take distributions from both an inherited IRA and your IRA, and each has basis, you must complete separate Forms 8606 to determine the taxable and nontaxable portions of those distributions.
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230544

Federal estate tax deduction.(p22)

rule
A beneficiary may be able to claim a deduction for estate tax resulting from certain distributions from a traditional IRA. The beneficiary can deduct the estate tax paid on any part of a distribution that is income in respect of a decedent. He or she can take the deduction for the tax year the income is reported. For information on claiming this deduction, see Estate Tax Deduction under Other Tax Information in Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.
Any taxable part of a distribution that is not income in respect of a decedent is a payment the beneficiary must include in income. However, the beneficiary cannot take any estate tax deduction for this part.
A surviving spouse can roll over the distribution to another traditional IRA and avoid including it in income for the year received.
taxmap/pubs/p590-007.htm#en_us_publink1000230545

More information.(p22)

rule
For more information about rollovers, required distributions, and inherited IRAs, see: