An income tax return may still need to be filed for someone who has passed away. If the decedent had earned enough income before his/her death that warrants the filing of a return, then a return must be filed.

Who Files the Final Tax Return?

The final tax return is filed by the administrator, the executor, or any other person responsible for the decedent’s affairs.

When Is the Final Tax Return Due?

The due date of the final tax return would be the normal due date as if the death did not occur. Normally, it would be April 15 of the following year.

For example: P passed away on March 7, 2004. His final tax return for year 2004 will be due on April 15, 2005.

Generally, only income that is actually or constructively (i.e. have the power to control) received up to the date of death is included in the final tax return. Income that is not yet collected by the decedent before his/her death is taxed to the subsequent recipient, such as the estate of the decedent or heirs of the decedent.

Can Expenses Incurred After the Death of the Decedent Be Deducted On the Final Tax Return?

Usually no. Expenses incurred after the death of the decedent are deducted by the estate or the person who pays for these expenses.

One exception is for medical expenses of the decedent paid within one year from the date of his/her death. If these expenses are deducted on the decedent¿s final tax return, then the estate or the person who pays for them may not deduct them again.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me with My Tax Problems?

Tax laws are complex and ever-changing. Although there are various tax preparation softwares on the market that may help you with your tax problems, they cannot provide the same level of service that an experienced and knowledgeable tax attorney  can. If you are unsure about your filing requirements or if you need someone to represent you before the IRS, a tax attorney can help you.