How does one calculate ma'aser on an inheritance?

I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that ma'aser is paid on gain; not capital.

Accordingly, if one inherits $1000 of which $100 is capital and $900 gain, would all $1000 now be considered gain to be taxed, or would the inheritor take the place of the deceased for whom only $900 is gain.

Accordingly the inheritor would pay $90 of ma'aser as opposed to $100.

  • Can we assume the deceased was paid up on his Maaser when he died?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:32
  • 1
    Wait I'm confused about the case. Why is part of the inheritance "gain" and part "capital"? It's all "gain" for the heir, no?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:33
  • @DoubleAA Well I thought that maybe the inheritor simply steps into the shoes of the deceased, for whom the money was capital; not gain. I was inspired by a Gemara (Bava Basra 109a?) that IIRC says that the son stands in place of the father.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:37
  • Yes, but that may be only in the case of direct father-to-son inheritance. In any event, please edit to clarify the case of who owned what when, paid what when, and died what when.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:38
  • @DoubleAA I hadent fully thought through the various relevant variables. I thought that a thorough answer could account for the various eventualities.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


The sources that I have seen would consider the inheritance as income. For example, someone gives a gift from money that had paid ma'aser on it. This is still considered complete income, because you have not paid any money for it. However, see below that you do not need to pay the ma'aser until you actually liquidate (sell) the property and obtain cash for it. Some people will estimate the value and pay ma'aser on the current value so as to establish a "purchase base" for future sale, but the Business Halacha citation below would say that it is not required.

Some people will pay the ma'aser for the person that has received a gift (such as a gift to children) or cause an inheritance to "skip" a generation (go to grandchildren for example) to prevent the intermediate generation from having to pay ma'aser.

Maaser from Inheritance

The fact that somebody has already taken maaser from particular moneys does not have any ramifications for somebody who receives the money as an inheritance, because maaser is a person obligation and doesn’t apply to the money (but to the person).

Separating Ma’aser from Inheritance and Gifts

With regard to inheritance, the Pischei Teshuvah (249:1) writes in the name of the Shelah that there is a full obligation of separating ma’aser. This applies even if the deceased was always particular in tithing his income. The principle behind the ruling is that the obligation of ma’aser kesafim, unlike the tithing of produce, is incumbent on the person (gavra) rather than the money (cheftza). When a person gains, he becomes obligated in tithing, irrespective of how many times the money had already been tithed.

Business Halacha

The custom is not to separate Maaser from gifts of items or real estate that a person receives, such as wedding presents or an inherited home or land. However, if the receiver liquidates these gifts or inheritance, or returns the gift for a cash refund, Maaser should be separated from the money that is received. See Tosafos in Taanis (9a), the Sefer Chassidim (Ch. 144), the Rabbeinu Yona in Sefer HaYirah, the Teshuvos Yaavetz (Vol. 1 Ch. 8). This is also the conclusion of the Chazon Ish.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .