How to file taxes for a deceased individual

In Texas, it is essential to understand the complexities and challenges of filing taxes for a deceased individual. Specific laws and regulations apply to the filing process, and the following key points can provide insight into navigating the process.

Filing deadline and requirements

Some people name an individual as their estate executor in their Living Will and one job entrusted to them is the deceased’s tax return. If no appointment is made or no Will is presented, the court will appoint an executor, it may be a spouse, child, or even a legal representative. The individual’s tax return is due by the tax filing deadline for the tax year in which the individual dies.

Filing method

You can file a deceased person’s taxes online or by mailing a paper return. When filing taxes for the deceased individual, you do not have to provide a copy of their death certificate with the tax return. Instead, you can indicate the person is deceased by adding the word “deceased” after their name if you file the return using e-file or another online filing option. If you file the return on paper, write the person’s date of death across the top of the return’s first page.

Tax refunds or liabilities

If the defendant is due a tax return the estate executor is required to complete IRS Form 1310, the Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due to Deceased Taxpayer, to receive the funds unless they are a court-appointed representative or a surviving spouse who filed a joint return.

Conversely, if the deceased owes taxes, according to tax law, the funds for payment must come out of their estate. The estate is responsible for paying all taxes owed before distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries. If the estate does not have enough funds to cover the tax debt, the liability does not transfer to the person in charge of the estate. However, if the estate’s assets could have covered the tax liability, yet the decedent’s personal representative distributed them without paying the tax bill, the tax liability would transfer to the personal representative.

Filing the decedent’s tax return is one of the responsibilities of the appointed estate executor. When filing remember to indicate that the individual is deceased and file the appropriate forms for receipt of the return. If you are appointed executor of an estate and need assistance, consult the estate’s legal representative for guidance.