If the house was sold while in the trust, the trust will report the sale. Unlike a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust is treated as an entity that is legally independent of it's grantor for tax purposes. Accordingly, trust income is taxable, and the trustee must file a tax return on behalf of the trust.
Distributions to beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust, are taxable to beneficiaries at ordinary income tax rates.
When a grantor -- a living-trust creator -- dies, the trust becomes irrevocable. An irrevocable trust is an independent taxpayer in the eyes of the IRS, required to file its own tax return. Responsibility for completing the paperwork falls to the trustee appointed by the grantor. If you're the trustee, you must file the final trust return.
For more information about the trust return you can use this link: Instructions for Form 1041.
If you find that you should report the sale on your tax return (the trustee should be able to tell you or if you are the trustee, you can check with the attorney who helped with the estate or set up the trust) here is the information about how you, as an individual would report the sale of inherited property.
Inherited property receives a stepped up basis in the hands of the beneficiaries, and is always considered to be held long term. This means that the "cost basis" to each beneficiary is the value of the home on the date of death. If the sale occurs close in time to the inheritance, then the result of the sale would be little to no gain. This means little to no tax.
Example: The house value on the date of death is $100,000, plus the cost of the capital improvements you made after the date of death ($5,000 estimated), then it was sold by you for $115,000. The selling expenses ($3,000) would be also reduce the gain. The result in this scenario is a $13,000 gain.
The maximum tax rate for long term capital gain (LTCG) is 20%, however it is lower based on your marginal tax rate. LTCGs are taxed at rates of 0%, 15%, or 20%, depending on your tax bracket.
This TurboTax article will help you decide whether you need to file the trust return. Click the blue hyperlinks for more detail.
What about when the house is sold and the grantor is still alive? My Dad setup an irrevocable trust for his 3 kids, me and my 2 siblings. We sold the house, and the house is in the trust. The mortgage was paid off so it was a large cash amount that went into a trust savings account. Will the Trust have to pay capital gains on that entire amount?
Asset transferred to an irrevocable trust retain the donor's basis, though you need to know the FMV of the house at the time of the transfer. Basically dad made a gift to you and his basis carries over to the trust but "FMV" plays into the basis you'd actually use on the tax return. The tax won't be levied against the entire proceeds, just the profits.
Do you know what the percentage could be selling through the Trust. We have a very complicated issue; but, the percentage might determine if we want to deal with adjusting a cost basis figure...if that is even possible. We have issues that might make this possible; we hope.