Purpose of Form
A beneficiary of certain domestic trusts (see Who Must File below) uses Form 4970 to figure the partial tax on accumulation distributions under section 667. The fiduciary notifies the beneficiary of an "accumulation distribution" by completing Part IV of Schedule J (Form 1041).
Thus, if you received a distribution for this tax year from a trust that accumulated its income instead of distributing it each year (and the trust paid taxes on that income), you must complete Form 4970 to compute any additional tax liability. The trustee must give you a completed Part IV of Schedule J (Form 1041) so you can complete this form.
If you received accumulation distributions from more than one trust during the current tax year, prepare a separate Form 4970 for each trust from which you received an accumulation distribution. You can arrange the distributions in any order you want them considered to have been made.
Who Must File
Beneficiaries who received an accumulation distribution from certain domestic trusts that were created before March 1, 1984, must file Form 4970. For details, see section 665(c).
Foreign Trust Beneficiaries
If you received an accumulation distribution from a foreign trust, you must report the distribution and the partial tax on a 2017 Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts.
Do not file Form 4970 for distributions from any foreign trusts, except to attach it as a worksheet to Form 3520 if those instructions direct you to.
Note: If the accumulation distributions are from a domestic trust that used to be a foreign trust, see Rev. Rul. 91-6, 1991-1 C.B. 89.
For more information see IRS Form 4970 General Instructions.