News & Tech Tips

When inheriting money, be aware of “income in respect of a decedent” issues

Once a relatively obscure concept, “income in respect of a decedent” (IRD) may create a surprising tax bill for those who inherit certain types of property, such as IRAs or other retirement plans. Fortunately, there may be ways to minimize or even eliminate the IRD tax bite.

Basic rules

For the most part, property you inherit isn’t included in your income for tax purposes. Items that are IRD, however, do have to be included in your income, although you may also be entitled to an IRD deduction on account of them.

What’s IRD? It is income that the decedent (the person from whom you inherit the property) would have taken into income on his or her final income tax return except that death interceded. One common IRD item is the decedent’s last paycheck, received after death. It would have normally been included in the decedent’s income on the final income tax return. However, since the decedent’s tax year closed as of the date of death, it wasn’t included. As an item of IRD, it’s taxed as income to whomever does receive it (the estate or another individual). Not just the final paycheck, but any compensation-related benefits paid after death, such as accrued vacation pay or voluntary employer benefit payments, will be IRD to the recipient.

Other common IRD items include pension benefits and amounts in a decedent’s individual retirement accounts (IRAs) at death as well as a decedent’s share of partnership income up to the date of death. If you receive these IRD items, they’re included in your income.

The IRD deduction 

Although IRD must be included in the income of the recipient, a deduction may come along with it. The deduction is allowed (as an itemized deduction) to lessen the “double tax” impact that’s caused by having the IRD items subject to the decedent’s estate tax as well as the recipient’s income tax.

To calculate the IRD deduction, the decedent’s executor may have to be contacted for information. The deduction is determined as follows:

  • First, you must take the “net value” of all IRD items included in the decedent’s estate. The net value is the total value of the IRD items in the estate, reduced by any deductions in respect of the decedent. These are items which are the converse of IRD: items the decedent would have deducted on the final income tax return, but for death’s intervening.
  • Next you determine how much of the federal estate tax was due to this net IRD by calculating what the estate tax bill would have been without it. Your deduction is then the percentage of the tax that your portion of the IRD items represents.

In the following example, the top estate tax rate of 40% is used. Example: At Tom’s death, $50,000 of IRD items were included in his gross estate, $10,000 of which were paid to Alex. There were also $3,000 of deductions in respect of a decedent, for a net value of $47,000. Had the estate been $47,000 less, the estate tax bill would have been $18,800 less. Alex will include in income the $10,000 of IRD received. If Alex itemizes deductions, Alex may also deduct $3,760, which is 20% (10,000/50,000) of $18,800.

We can help

If you inherit property that could be considered IRD, consult with us for assistance in managing the tax consequences.

© 2022

City of Columbus and Franklin County have joined to provide $8 million dollars to help small business through the pandemic – Here is how to apply.

That’s right! Columbus has announced that they will be allocating an additional $8 million to a grant program for small businesses. Grants from the Columbus-Franklin County Recovery Fund can range from $5,000 to $20,000 and are available for immediate access.

To be eligible for-profit small businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • Be located in the City of Columbus or Franklin County
  • Have 25 full-time employees or less
  • Have documentation showing the pandemic caused at least a 25% loss in sales.
  • Began operations prior to March 17, 2020
  • Are currently open and operating
  • Be owned by an owner that is at least 18 years or older

The intention of the grant is to help and prioritize businesses located in underserved communities that are minority-, women-, or veteran-owned. As Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said, “minority- and women-owned businesses were more likely to miss their chance or be passed over for Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government. By putting these entrepreneurs at the front line for local funding, we hope to support businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”


How are the grants allocated and how can they be used?

According to a City of Columbus press release: business owners can apply for one of three grants:

  • $5,000 recovery grant: For self-employed, single entity, sole proprietors and sole owner LLCs
  • $10,000 recovery grant: For small businesses with at least one full-time employee
  • $20,000 job restoration grants: For businesses with at least one full-time employee that lost employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Business who are selected for this grant will start by receiving an initial $10,000. They then are eligible for the additional $10,000 for hiring an additional full-time employee within two months and maintaining their payroll for four months after receiving initial grant funding.

Grants provided by this fund can be used to relieve financial hardships caused by a loss of sales, hire new personnel, train staff, or even fill previously lost positions.

Small business owners who are interested in applying can use this link to learn more and prepare their applications. The next grant application begins on April 11th, 2022 at 9:00 am, and ends on April 25th, 2022. The application pool closes early if they meet their maximum capacity of 500 applicants prior to the closing date.

Are you ready for the 2021 gift tax return deadline?

If you made large gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs last year, it’s important to determine whether you’re required to file a 2021 gift tax return. And in some cases, even if it’s not required to file one, it may be beneficial to do so anyway.

Who must file?

The annual gift tax exclusion has increased in 2022 to $16,000 but was $15,000 for 2021. Generally, you must file a gift tax return for 2021 if, during the tax year, you made gifts:

  • That exceeded the $15,000-per-recipient gift tax annual exclusion for 2021 (other than to your U.S. citizen spouse),
  • That you wish to split with your spouse to take advantage of your combined $30,000 annual exclusion for 2021,
  • That exceeded the $159,000 annual exclusion in 2021 for gifts to a noncitizen spouse,
  • To a Section 529 college savings plan and wish to accelerate up to five years’ worth of annual exclusions ($75,000) into 2021,
  • Of future interests — such as remainder interests in a trust — regardless of the amount, or
  • Of jointly held or community property.

Keep in mind that you’ll owe gift tax only to the extent that an exclusion doesn’t apply and you’ve used up your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption ($11.7 million for 2021). As you can see, some transfers require a return even if you don’t owe tax.

Why you might want to file

No gift tax return is required if your gifts for 2021 consisted solely of gifts that are tax-free because they qualify as:

  • Annual exclusion gifts,
  • Present interest gifts to a U.S. citizen spouse,
  • Educational or medical expenses paid directly to a school or health care provider, or
  • Political or charitable contributions.

But if you transferred hard-to-value property, such as artwork or interests in a family-owned business, you should consider filing a gift tax return even if you’re not required to. Adequate disclosure of the transfer in a return triggers the statute of limitations, generally preventing the IRS from challenging your valuation more than three years after you file.

The deadline is April 18

The gift tax return deadline is the same as the income tax filing deadline. For 2021 returns, it’s April 18, 2022 — or October 17, 2022, if you file for an extension. But keep in mind that, if you owe gift tax, the payment deadline is April 18, regardless of whether you file for an extension. If you’re not sure whether you must (or should) file a 2021 gift tax return, contact us.

4 levels of audit opinions

The first page of audited financial statements is the auditor’s report. This is an important part of the financials that shouldn’t be overlooked. It contains the audit opinion, which indicates whether the financial statements are fairly presented in all material respects, compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and free from material misstatement.

In general, there are four types of audit opinions, ranked from most to least desirable.

1. Unqualified. A clean “unqualified” opinion is the most common (and desirable). Here, the auditor states that the company’s financial condition, position and operations are fairly presented in the financial statements.

2. Qualified. The auditor expresses a qualified opinion if the financial statements appear to contain a small deviation from GAAP but are otherwise fairly presented. To illustrate: An auditor will “qualify” his or her opinion if a borrower incorrectly estimates the reserve for a contingency, but the exception doesn’t affect the rest of the financial statements.

Qualified opinions are also given if the company’s management limits the scope of audit procedures. For example, a qualified opinion may have resulted if you denied the auditor access to year-end inventory counts due to safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Adverse. When an auditor issues an adverse opinion, there are material exceptions to GAAP that affect the financial statements as a whole. Here, the auditor indicates that the financial statements aren’t presented fairly. Typically, an adverse opinion letter outlines these exceptions.

4. Disclaimer. Even more alarming to lenders and investors is a disclaimer opinion. Disclaimers occur when an auditor gives up in the middle of an audit. Reasons for disclaimers may include significant scope limitations, material doubt about the company’s going-concern status and uncertainties within the subject company itself. A disclaimer opinion letter briefly outlines the auditor’s reasons for throwing in the towel.

Beyond the opinion

Auditors’ reports for public companies also must include a discussion of so-called “critical audit matters” (CAMs). Essentially, these are the most complicated issues that arose during the audit. CAMs are specific to the engagement and the year of the audit. As a result, they’re expected to change from year to year.

This requirement represents a major change to the pass-fail audit opinions that have been in place for decades. It’s intended to give stakeholders greater insight into the company’s disclosures and the auditor’s work when issuing an unqualified opinion. Contact us for more information on audit opinions.

Pros and Cons of Filing Your Taxes Early

Taxes aren’t due until April, but there are some good reasons not to wait, and to file your tax return early.


Getting your taxes ready early means you’ll have less competition for getting an appointment with your tax professional. That means less stress for you and your preparer.


Filing your return early gives crooks less time to submit a fraudulent return using your identity. Untangling identity theft issues with the IRS is stressful and time-consuming.


If you need to pay additional taxes, your tax payment is due by April 15. Filing early means you have time to plan how to pay your bill and avoid any last-minute surprises. And if you’re expecting a refund, early filing generally means you’ll get your money sooner.


Occasionally, there can be stumbling blocks that prevent you from filing early. For example, although companies have deadlines for providing tax forms like W-2s and 1099s, sometimes they send them late. Or perhaps they send them on time, but there’s an error. So, if you receive a late or corrected form and you’ve already filed, you’ll be forced to amend your return. Luckily, this is not a common occurrence.