Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Paying taxes on your inheritance

By Ismat Sarah Mangla, Money magazine


NEW YORK (Money magazine) -- Question: Since Congress hasn't yet reinstated the estate tax, what are the tax rules for valuing assets that you inherit in 2010? -- Jack Pickering, La Habra, Calif.

Answer: The absence of the estate tax doesn't mean you won't have to pay taxes on an asset you inherit this year, says Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst at CCH.

Historically, when you inherited assets like stocks or a home, your tax basis was the fair market value at the time of death (what's known as a stepped-up basis).

So if you sold a stock your grandmother left you, you'd pay capital gains taxes only on any price appreciation since her death.

That's still true for estates below $1.3 million. But under current law, if you are handed down some serious money -- say, a small business your dad started decades ago -- the decedent's original tax basis also carries over.

So you'd owe taxes on the increase in value since your benefactor owned the asset. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.99%4.02%
15 yr fixed3.18%3.16%
5/1 ARM3.40%3.38%
30 yr refi4.01%4.07%
15 yr refi3.20%3.19%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 19,170.42 -21.51 -0.11%
Nasdaq 5,255.65 4.55 0.09%
S&P 500 2,191.95 0.87 0.04%
Treasuries 2.39 -0.05 -2.09%
Data as of 3:45pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 21.23 -0.27 -1.26%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 7.23 0.18 2.55%
Ford Motor Co 12.24 -0.19 -1.53%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 15.42 0.39 2.59%
Cisco Systems Inc 29.25 -0.20 -0.68%
Data as of Dec 2

Sections

Increased health coverage through Obamacare and greater use of health care services accounted for the nearly 6% rise of national health spending in 2015, which approached $10,000 per person. More

Facebook admits it messed up more ad metrics than previously thought, potentially eroding its trust and relationship with marketers and publishers. More