Submitted By: Victor
Answered: May 27, 2014 8:30 am

I inherited an annuity from my cousin. He paid $100,000 but it was worth $109,000 when he died. Is this taxable to me?

Sorry about your personal loss. The inheritance isn’t taxable, but receiving funds from the annuity is because your cousin never paid tax on this income. Sounds confusing, but it’s the same thing when inheriting an IRA—receiving the inheritance isn’t taxable but when distributions from the account are taken, the distributions become taxable. Unlike property that gets a stepped-up basis when the owner dies so that appreciation is never taxed, there is no similar rule for ordinary income; it remains taxable to heirs and beneficiaries.

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Tax Glossary

Head of household

Generally, an unmarried person who maintains a household for dependents and is allowed to compute his or her tax based on head of household rates, which are more favorable than single person rates.

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