Is All “Income” Taxable?

You only have to examine your paycheck to realize that certain income is tax-free. For example, health insurance premiums paid by your employer are generally not included in your income.

Do you know the tax status of other types of income? Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge.

1. You tell your son he’ll be the sole beneficiary of your estate, and that you’ve decided to give him an advance on his inheritance. You hand him a check for $10,000. He wants to know how much he’ll have to pay in taxes. What do you tell him?

  • Answer: Gifts, bequests, devises, and inheritances are generally not taxable to the beneficiary. Income produced from those sources are taxable to the beneficiary.

 

2. You withdraw $20,000 of the contributions you made to your Roth IRA over the past five years, but you’re not of retirement age. Do you have a taxable event?

  • Answer: Unlike traditional IRAs, distributions from Roths are first allocated to amounts you contributed to the account. To the extent the distribution is a return of your contributions, it’s not included in your income and you can withdraw it penalty- and tax-free.

 

3. You purchase a piano at an auction and take it home. While cleaning it, you discover $5,000 inside. Is this money taxable to you?

  • Answer: Yes. Once it becomes yours, “treasure trove” property is taxable to you at fair market value.

 

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