One of the more difficult things that executors have to do to wrap up an estate is to file taxes for the deceased and the estate. Many executors are simply not aware of all of the different tax returns that need to be filed. SmartMoney recently published a short list of the returns that most executors need to file, which is worth repeating here.
The first thing that usually needs to be filed is the final income tax return for the deceased. The only difference between this and a normal income tax return is that it does not cover an entire year. It only covers the period from January 1st of the year in which the deceased passed away until the date of death.
Of course, if the deceased has investments, then it is likely that many of those investments will continue to earn money after the person passes away. Taxes need to be paid on any of those earnings as well. Executors in this situation will need to file an income tax return for the estate.
Finally, an estate tax return needs to be filed within nine months of the deceased passing away. This should be done whether or not any estate tax is owed.
Executors might have other forms to file and other taxes that need to be paid. Smart executors will talk to an attorney to help them make sure that they are filing everything that they need to file.
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