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Beneficiary IRA

Last Updated March 21, 2009


Also referred to as ‘Inherited IRA’.

An IRA that is established for the non-spouse beneficiary of the IRA owner,  or qualified plan , 403(b) or 457(b) participant; or a spouse beneficiary who chose not elect to treat the IRA as his/her ‘own IRA’. The inherited IRA must be maintained in the name of the decedent and the beneficiary, and the tax identification number of the beneficiary. The IRS gave the following example of a registration “ “Brian Willow as beneficiary of Joan Maple” or something similar that signifies that the IRA was once owned by Joan Maple. You may abbreviate the word “beneficiary” as, for example, “bene.” ”


Referring Cite

IRS Instructions for filing IRS Form 1099-R and Form 5498

Additional Helpful Information

  • Distributions from the beneficiary IRA is reported as ‘death distributions’, so that the IRS , tax preparers, and tax preparation software recognizes that the distribution is not subject to the 10 percent excise tax that applies to early distributions.
  • Some financial institutions simply retitle/replate the IRA of the decedent to reflect it as a beneficiary IRA, and/or perform sub-accounting to ensure that tax reporting is done under the beneficiary’s’ tax identification number.
  • Others require that the beneficiaries open separate (new) accounts and in order to ensure that proper tax reporting occurs.
  • The IRS has no preference of operational mechanisms; their requirement is that the tax-reporting meets their specifications.