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"Except in those cases in which there were after-tax contributions to a retirement account, distributions to beneficiaries are 100% ordinary income taxable to the beneficiary. IOW, if it would have been income to the decedent, it's income to the beneficiary."

It's a ROTH IRA I'm talking about. In that case would the basis be stepped up?

"In community property states a community account goes to the surviving spouse with a basis equal to fair market value as of the date of death. Elsewhere, it's like two accounts. Half retains the basis it had before, the other half gets the stepped-up basis."

We are in a community property state (CA) but we are not married, just "domestic partners", so ALL of our property is separate. The non-retirement account is a joint account, and we are not married. It is held as JTWROS. I would think there is no basis step up in that case?

I'll get PUB 551 also.

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