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IRS Tax Map 2008
Current IRS Tax Map

Rev. date: 11/2005


Decedents

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Tele-Tax Topic 356
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A personal representative of an estate is an executor (executrix), administrator (administratrix) or anyone who is in charge of the decedent's property. The personal representative is responsible for filing any income tax return(s) and the estate tax return when due. Please refer to Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators, for additional information on personal representative responsibilities.
The filing requirements that apply to individuals will determine if a final individual income tax return is required for the decedent. Refer to Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, 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 that were made available to him without restriction before death. Generally, expenses the decedent paid before death should be deducted on the final return. If the decedent used the accrual method, refer to Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators, and Publication 538, Accounting Periods and Methods, for further information.
Please add the word "Deceased" after the decedent's name in the name and address section of the final return. Also, please add the date of death across the top of the final return. If the decedent is due a refund, it may be necessary to file Form 1310, Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer, with the return. If you are a surviving spouse filing a joint return, or a court appointed or certified personal representative filing an original return for the decedent, you do not have to file Form 1310. Personal representatives must attach to the return a copy of the court certificate showing the appointment.
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. 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." A surviving spouse can file joint returns for the taxable year in which the death occurred and, if the death occurred before the date that the decedent's return for the immediately preceding year was due, for the taxable year immediately before the year of death. 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."
Please refer to the Instructions 1041 to determine if a Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, is required to be filed.
You may have to file Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation Skipping Transfer) Tax Return. Please refer to the Instructions 706 to determine if a Form 706 is required to be filed.