Income in Respect of a Decedent

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Taxpayers are generally required to recognize income for federal income tax purposes in the year in which it is received. If, however, someone dies before receiving income to which he or she is entitled, that income is not included on his or her final income tax return. Instead, such income, referred to as "income in respect of a decedent," or IRD, is included as gross income in the decedent's estate for federal estate tax purposes. And, IRD also becomes taxable income to the person or entity who ultimately receives it (in direct contrast to the general rule that inherited property is not included in an heir's taxable income).

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