New Form 8939 Required to Be Filed with the Internal Revenue Service for Step-up in Basis for Estates of Persons Who Die During 2010
Attached is an early draft by the Internal Revenue Service of Form 8939, entitled “Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Received from a Decedent.” This form is necessary for the estates of 2010 decedents to achieve a step-up in basis. It reputedly is required to be filed with the decedent’s final income tax return, and is believed to be necessary only for estates in excess of $1,300,000. Until we see specific instructions from the Internal Revenue Service, however, it is my belief that all estates should consider filing this form.
Schedule A pertains only to surviving spouses. For assets inherited by persons other than surviving spouses, Schedule B would be required. Note that on both of these schedules, the date that the decedent acquired the property is required. While that information may be easy to determine for real estate, it may not be easy to determine for securities and mutual funds held in book entry for many years. Further, taxpayers and their accountants may find that attempting to list the separate purchases made in dividend reinvestment plans to achieve a step-up in basis on each investment may not be worth the time and effort.
A positive note for taxpayers is that this draft of the form does not require an explanation of why the Executor of the estate believes the asset would be entitled to a step-up in basis under Internal Revenue Code Section 1022. Thus, technical issues as to whether life estates, reserved powers of appointment or irrevocable trusts are “owned by the decedent” and “received from the decedent” under Internal Revenue Code Section 1022 are not flagged on the form except, perhaps, where an “[a]ccurate description of the property” is required. For my previous posts on what types of assets may be entitled to a step-up in basis, see http://elderlawblog.info/category/internal-revenue-code-section-1022-2