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IRS has a neat term it likes to use to determine when income is considered received and thus taxable. The term? 'constructive receipt"

"Constructive receipt" refers to when you have a legal right to the funds.

If you are out of town when the check arrives at your home On Dec 31st, you have constructive receipt because you had a right to use the funds as of Dec 31st had you been home. But if the post office did not deliver that check until January 2, you could argue that you did not have constructive receipt until the following year and defer paying the tax on those funds until the tax year in which it was received.

So holding onto checks and not cashing them until a subsequent year will have not change when you should properly report your income.

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