Filing Taxes for a Deceased Loved One

27 Apr Filing Taxes for a Deceased Loved One

When a loved one passes away, there are many details that must be handled in finalizing their estate and settling all of their affairs. One item that frequently gets delayed or overlooked entirely is filing the deceased’s final tax return. We know that filing your own tax return can be complicated enough; filing a return for someone who has passed away can be especially difficult to face from both a logistical and an emotional standpoint. Here’s what you need to know about filing a deceased person’s tax return.

Did They Need to File a Return?

First, it’s important to note that not every person needs to file a tax return. Senior citizens on fixed incomes may often be exempt from filing a return. If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one was required to file a return, you can use the IRS’s online tool, found here. If you find they are exempt, you can cross this to-do item off your list. If they were require to file a return, you’ll need to move on to the next steps.

Who Is Responsible for Filing It?

The responsibility for filing the deceased’s tax return falls to their executor, administrator, or anyone else who is left in charge of the deceased’s property. The IRS refers to this individual as a personal representative. If the deceased has a surviving spouse, then the personal representative and the surviving spouse can file a joint return for both the deceased and the spouse. However, if a personal representative hasn’t been named, the surviving spouse can file the joint return for both themselves and their deceased partner.

How Do You File Their Return?

Filing the final return for a deceased individual is essentially the same as filing your own taxes. You’ll need to report all income for that year, up to the person’s death, and claim any applicable deductions and credits on their behalf. You’ll typically use Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Write the word “DECEASED” afros the top of the tax return, along with the individual’s name and date of death. When filling out the return, you will write the deceased’s name in the name field, and the personal representative’s name and address in the address field; if filing a joint return, the surviving spouse’s name and address would go in this field instead.

Aside from these small changes, filing the return of a deceased loved on is not too different from filing your own taxes each year. Of course, the major difficult lies in ensuring that you have a full grasp of their financial situation and that you’re reporting all of their income and assets appropriately. Finances can become much more complicated very quickly when they’re not your own. We strongly recommend working with a Provo tax advisor to navigate these complexities when filing a loved one’s final tax return.

When Is Their Return Due?

It’s important to note that this type of tax return is not exempt from the typical tax deadline. Their individual tax return will be due on April 15th the year after they passed away. If your loved one passed away before filing the previous year’s tax return, you may find yourself filing two returns on their behalf. For example, if your father died in March of 2022 before filing his 2021 tax return, you would have to file his 2021 return as well as his 2022 tax return for any income earned prior to his death. Of course, we understand that deadlines like these can be especially stressful when you’re already coping with grief over the loss of a loved one. We can help you file for an extension to give you more time to deal with filing your family member’s tax return.

If you’re responsible for filing the tax return of a deceased family member, please reach out to The Accounting Guys today. You’ll work with one of our experienced tax advisors in Provo to ensure that the return is completed correctly, and relieve you of the burden of having to navigate their taxes on your own. Schedule your consultation now.

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