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December 2021

Inherited IRA Reporting – Form 5498 and FMV Statement

This article discusses the proper reporting for Inherited IRAs.

IRS Revenue Procedure 89-52, a required procedure since 1989, dictates how an IRA Custodian/Trustee is to report IRAs once the IRA Accountholder has died. The procedure has not changed since 1989, and is to be used as soon as the IRA Custodian/Trustee knows of the death of the IRA Accountholder! Knowledge of death means anywhere in your financial institution. If the checking account department, the loan department, or the safety deposit vault department knew of the death but the IRA department did not, that is a lack of communication, NOT a lack of knowledge!

There are two aspects to complying with this procedure: One for the reporting for the deceased IRA Accountholder; the other for the reporting to the beneficiary.

The usual comment we hear is “The beneficiary has not come in” or “The beneficiary has not done anything with the IRA.” Neither one of these comments has anything to do with your required reporting if there is knowledge the IRA owner has died. The IRS’ position is that the IRA becomes an Inherited IRA owned by the beneficiary at the moment of death. And, the IRA Custodian/Trustee must report it accordingly. This applies to all beneficiary situations, spouse or nonspouse.

Reporting for the Deceased IRA Accountholder

For the year of death, there is required reporting for the decedent.
A year-end Fair Market Value (FMV) statement must be produced in the name and Social Security Number (SSN) of the deceased IRA Accountholder. The FMV that is reported is either the FMV as of the date of death, or zero. It is never the actual December 31 FMV unless the IRA Accountholder died on December 31. If the zero balance option is reported, the availability of the FMV on the date of death must be disclosed to the decedent’s representative on both the FMV statement and in the instructions to the participant for Form 5498.

The IRS Form 5498 for the year of death must also be prepared in the name and SSN of the decedent, showing the FMV as was reported in the FMV statement at the end of the year. (All other reports for the decedent for IRA transactions completed before the death are, of course, also reported.)

These are the last reports/statements/ forms prepared in the name and SSN of the deceased, whether the beneficiaries address the situation or not. But the responsibilities of the IRA Custodian/ Trustee are just beginning because it also has reporting requirements for each Inherited IRA beneficiary starting with the year of death. It makes no difference that a beneficiary has not contacted the custodian/trustee. The reporting requirements are the financial institution’s as soon as it knows of the death.

Reporting for the Inherited IRA/Beneficiary

Beginning in the year of death, the FMV of the Inherited IRA as of December 31 must be reported to each beneficiary. Each beneficiary must receive the statement showing their share of the December 31 FMV. This applies for all beneficiaries including spouses, non-spouses, trusts, estates, charities, foundations, etc. It is their Inherited IRA balance and it must be reported separately. It is reported in the name and SSN or TIN of the beneficiary, noted as beneficiary of the decedent. For instance,

ABC Financial Institution for the benefit of Jane Doe as beneficiary of Mary Doe’s traditional IRA.

The SSN of the deceased can never be used for reporting to any beneficiary, including estates and trusts. IRS Form 5498 is also required for each beneficiary, reporting the FMV as was reported in their year-end FMV statement.

This reporting procedure for the beneficiary is required for each subsequent year there is a balance
in the inherited IRA as of December 31. Of course, distributions to a beneficiary will be reported on Form 1099-R.

Common Consulting Call Question

The IRA accountholder died in 2021, the financial institution knew of the death, and the beneficiaries are just coming into the office now, April 2022. The IRA is still in the name and SSN of the deceased. What do we do? IRS Rev. Proc. 89-52 requires that the reporting procedures be complied with. The year-end FMV statements must be corrected and the Form 5498s must be prepared correctly as described above. It was an Inherited IRA in 2021 and must be reported as such, even if the beneficiary is the spouse and the spouse now intends to treat it as his or her own IRA in 2010.

What if the IRA custodian did not know of the IRA Accountholder’s death?

Obviously, if you do not know of the death, the reporting cannot be done. But it does make a difference when you find out about the death. If you learn of the death before February 1 of the year after the death, even if your FMV Statements are already sent, this procedure applies. Any FMV Statement already sent would need to be corrected.

If you learn of the death between February 1 and May 31, the FMV Statement does not need to be amended, but likely should be because the Form 5498 procedure as described above must be complied with. So that your Form 5498 and your yearend statement balance agree, you likely will want to correct the December 31 FMV.

If you learn of the death after May 31, neither the FMV Statement nor the Form 5498 for the year of death needs to be corrected. However, all future reports and statements must be prepared in a complying fashion. And, the FMV on the date of death must be made available to the decedent’s representative if so requested.


This is a fairly complicated and administratively heavy procedure and we have heard that some systems do not make it easy to do the mandated reporting correctly. Never the less, it is required. IRS penalties on the financial institution for non-complying reporting can be severe, and can be assessed as far back as the IRS cares to go. You will get little understanding from the IRS for not complying with a 1989 required procedure.

If you have any questions concerning this complicated and required procedure, please contact our Consulting Department.