Goldberg Reports™


By Seymour Goldberg, CPA, MBA (Taxation), JD

Description of this guide

     Retirement assets often represent a substantial portion of a taxpayer’s wealth. The retirement assets may be accumulated in a 401(k) plan, 403(b) arrangement, in another kind of qualified plan, or in an IRA. Regardless of the retirement arrangement involved, the tax consequences of making the right move at the right time can be financially beneficial—or, conversely, financially hazardous—for the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s family. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made tax planning with retirement assets more important than ever.

     This guide will help you avoid common errors in dealing with inherited IRAs and the maze of these rules that are often missed by beneficiaries, whether they are nonspouse beneficiaries or a spouse beneficiary. There is no requirement under the IRS rules that financial institutions advise the heirs of an inherited IRA regarding when, how, and why prompt action should be taken by them.

     The author of this guide has found that the heirs of the deceased IRA owner's account are often clueless as to what the rules are from an IRS point of view and a legal point of view. This guide will point you in the right direction so that you can avoid tax penalties and tax traps regarding the inherited IRA rules. Instead, you can turn the tax and legal rules in your favor by knowing the rules—never guess, know.

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Some topics included in this guide include:

  • Common Errors in Retirement Distribution Planning

  • Why Many Beneficiary Forms are Defective

  • Don’t be Blind-Sided by Default IRA Beneficiary Boilerplate Provisions

  • An Important IRA Distribution “Tax Trap”

  • Statute of Limitations on IRS penalties involving IRAs

  • Personal liability of fiduciary for IRS penalties involving IRAs

  • How the Inherited IRA Rules Work for a Nonspouse Beneficiary and Multiple Nonspouse Beneficiaries

  • How the Spousal IRA Rules Work

  • Application of One-Per-Year Limit on IRA Rollovers to Avoid IRS Penalties

  • Inherited IRAs after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Clark v. Rameker including a recent adverse bankruptcy decision of first impression in New York State involving inherited IRAs

  • Use of Separate Spendthrift Trust as Beneficiary of an Inherited IRA for Asset Protection Purposes

  • What You Should Know about the One-Per-Year Limit on IRA Rollovers that You Don’t Know

  • Tax Planning with trusts as the Beneficiary of IRA Owner’s

  • And much more

Can You Answer These Questions?:

  1. If an IRA owner dies before receiving the entire required minimum distribution for the year of death, then what do the IRS rules require?

  2. What should the tax preparer do if a client fails to take his/her annual required minimum distributions?

  3. Is there a statute of limitations on IRS penalties involving IRA issues?

  4. Why should the beneficiary of an inherited IRA immediately file a successor-in-interest beneficiary form with the IRA institution?

  5. Is there a statute of limitations regarding IRS post-death trust compliance requirements that apply when a trust is the beneficiary of an IRA?

  6. What is the separate account rule that applies when the IRA owner dies and has multiple nonspouse beneficiaries?

  7. Can boilerplate default beneficiary provisions in IRA agreements create havoc in an estate plan?

  8. Can an executor of an estate have personal liability for IRS penalties involving IRA issues?

  9. When an IRA owner dies having selected his/her spouse as the beneficiary of his/her IRA, then what prompt action should the surviving spouse take, when and why?

  10. Should a trust be the beneficiary of an IRA for tax planning and asset protection purposes?

  11. Are inherited IRAs protected from creditors of the beneficiary of an inherited IRA under New York State law based on a recent court case of first impression?

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Seymour Goldberg (Biography) is the senior partner in the law firm of Goldberg & Goldberg, P.C., Long Island, New York, is Professor Emeritus of Accounting, Law and Taxation at Long Island University.  He has taught many CLE and CPE programs at the state and national level as well as CLE courses for the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, City Bar Center for Continuing Legal Education, NJICLE, local bar associations and law schools. 

Mr. Goldberg has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.  He was formerly associated with the Internal Revenue Service and has been involved in conducting continuing education outreach programs with the IRS.  He has authored guides for the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants on IRA compliance issues. 

Mr. Goldberg is the recipient of Outstanding Discussion Leader Awards from both the AICPA and the Foundation for Accounting Education.  His IRA guides can be found in well over 100 law school libraries.

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Last modified: February 22, 2019