Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/tax on death benefits


I recently lost a sister who was employed by the Federal Government. She listed me as a beneficiary for her unpaid wages and unused vacation pay that were owed to her at the time of her death. Will this money be considered taxable income for me?  If so, is there a ballpark percentage rate that I need to be sure to set aside for tax liability?


Thanks for your question.

The income is taxable and is referred to as Income in Respect of a Decedent (IRD). It will be taxed at your marginal rate, which depends on your total taxable income level. THis rate can vary from 10 to 39.6%. Not knowing anything about your income level, filing status, dependents, or deducations, I could not even hazard a guess at the rate you would be subject to.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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