How to File the Final IRS Return for Somebody Who Died: Do’s and Don’ts

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Your spouse, parent, or sibling died — and now, you’re forced to deal with a complicated tax return as you also work through your shock and grief. Fail to complete tax obligations correctly, and you’ll suffer unwanted interference from the IRS. Keep these do’s and don’t in mind as you file somebody else’s final tax return:

Do: Follow General Tax Filing Procedures

The filing process largely looks the same, regardless of the taxpayer featured in the return is still living. For example, you’ll need to report all income earned up until the date of death. Additionally, the final tax return should include any credits or deductions to which the deceased individual was entitled.

Most decedent tax returns call involve Form 1040 or 1040-SR, although it’s occasionally possible to file simplified versions. Any required payments can be submitted with the return. Installment agreements may be available if it’s not immediately possible to pay the required amount.

Don’t: Forget About Tax Refunds

If the decedent was eligible for a tax refund, be sure to file Form 1310, which is also known as the “Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer.” This document is available to both personal representatives and surviving spouses.

Do: Seek Advice from a Tax Professional

Attention to detail is crucial when filing final IRS returns, as underreporting and other mistakes could dramatically lengthen the statute of limitations and increase the potential for suffering a tax audit.

In a time of grief, it’s easy to make seemingly simple errors that compromise otherwise straightforward returns. A tax professional can analyze your return and supporting documents to reduce the risk of being audited.

As you grieve the loss of a loved one, let the Highland Tax Group take on the burden of dealing with the IRS. Reach out today to learn more about our tax services.