Filing a Tax Return for a Deceased Person

If someone in your life passes, you might need to file their taxes post-mortem

When an individual passes away, the executor, or the person in charge of the decedent’s estate, will handle their taxes. If the deceased didn’t leave a will, it’s up to the court to select the executor. If the person was married, the spouse can file the tax return using the married filing jointly status.

Here’s what you need to know if a client comes to you for assistance filing a return for a deceased taxpayer.

What form is used to file taxes for a deceased taxpayer?

A regular Form 1040 is used to file a deceased person’s tax return. The final return is due by the filing deadline for the tax year in which the decedent died.

Who should pay the tax bill for a deceased taxpayer?

The executor is responsible for paying taxes using money from the estate. It’s important not to distribute money to any beneficiaries until the taxes are paid off. If there’s not enough money in the estate to cover the taxes, the debt doesn’t carry over to the executor or beneficiaries. 

What is IRS Form 1310?

Form 1310 is used to claim any refund that is due to a deceased taxpayer. Your client doesn’t have to fill out Form 1310 if they’re a surviving spouse filing a joint return or a court-appointed personal representative.

This article was last edited on August 2, 2021.