Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What to do with Inherited Property in 2010?

With the repeal of the Estate Tax and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax in 2010, those who inherit assets from someone who dies in 2010 may be forced to deal with some very difficult income tax basis rule changes. If someone dies and their entire estate is less than $1.3M the inherited assets will receive a "step-up" in basis to the fair market value of the asset as of the decedent's date of death. But, if the person who dies in 2010 owned more than $1.3M in assets, then a tax return must be filed with the decedent's final income tax return which would be due April 15, 2011 or such later date as the IRS might prescribe by regulation not yet issued [see IRC Section 6075(a)].

If an heir sells property in 2010 where the asset is included in an estate of a deceased person with more than $1.3 M in property, that individual will need to wait until he or she receives the information required by Internal Revenue Code Section 6018. So far, the IRS has not even published the necessary tax forms to file this report.

Heirs who inherit property from someone who dies in 2010 in excess of $1.3M would do best to NOT sell that asset in 2010. There is an argument that with the sunset of the current tax laws at the end of this year (Section 901 of the EGTRRA) that the basis of assets sold after 2010 from decedents dying in 2010 will be entitled to a step-up in basis under the resurrected Section 1014 of the Internal Revenue Code. No one can say for sure what Congress might do before the end of the year? Stay tuned.

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