A personal representative is responsible for filing certain tax returns for a decedent,
and the decedent's estate. The personal representative, may be required to file:
the final income tax return of the decedent and any returns not filed for preceding years,
the U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, and the United States Estate Tax Return.
The filing requirements that apply to individuals will determine if a final income tax
return is required for the decedent. See Topic 351, Who Must File?,
for additional information.
Whether income must be included or deductions may be taken on the final return is determined
by the method of accounting used by the decedent. Most individuals use the cash method.
Under this method, the final return should show only the items of income the decedent actually received,
that were credited to his account, or were made available to him without restriction before death. Only the expenses the decedent paid before death
should be deducted. If the decedent used the accrual method, see
Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.
Publication 538, Accounting Periods and Methods
contains more information about the cash and accrual methods of accounting.
The final return should have the word "Deceased," the decedent's name,
and the date of death written across the top of the return. Generally,
the person who is filing a return for a decedent and claiming a refund must
file Form 1310,
Statement of Person Claiming a Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer,
along with a copy of the death certificate. However, if you are a
surviving spouse filing a joint return, or a court appointed
or certified personal representative, you do not need to file Form 1310.
Court appointed or certified personal representatives must attach a copy
of the certificate showing the appointment to the return.
If a personal representative has been appointed, that person must sign the return.
If it is a joint return, the surviving spouse also must sign it as well.
If you are a surviving spouse filing a joint return and no personal
representative has been appointed, you should sign the return and write
in the signature area, "Filing as surviving spouse." If no personal
representative has been appointed and there is no surviving spouse,
the person in charge of the decedent's property must file and sign the return as personal representative.
see Publication 559.
If the gross income of the estate is $600 or more or if a beneficiary
is a nonresident alien the fiduciary must file
U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.
You may have to file Form 706,
United States Estate (and Generation Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.
Whether a Form 706 is required to be filed, depends on the value of the gross estate
and the amount of taxable gifts the decedent made during life. For 2000 and 2001, an estate tax
return is required for a deceased U.S. citizen or resident whose gross estate
plus lifetime taxable gifts is more than $675,000.
Publications may be downloaded from this site,
or ordered by calling 1-800-829-3676.
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