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Filing a decedent’s final tax return

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Adjusting to the death of a loved one is a challenging period. As the emotional grief begins to wane, you may have to deal with several administrative issues to put the decedent’s affairs in order. One of the common tasks that Washington residents deal with after a loss is filing the final tax return.

Who is responsible for filing a decedent’s tax return?

Before you start searching for income forms and receipts, you want to determine whether you are the one responsible for filing the form. If you are a surviving spouse, it will most likely fall on you to carry out this task. However, the decedent may have appointed another executor of the estate like a bank or trust in their will.

If the decedent does not have a will or a surviving spouse, the court may appoint a personal representative to handle the decedent’s affairs. This person might be a close surviving relative or an organization like a bank that holds the decedent’s assets. Filing the final tax return is the responsibility of the executor or personal representative of the estate.

How to file a decedent’s final tax return

Filing a final tax return for someone who has died is no different from filing for a living person. You will want to find any available statements of income or interest. If the decedent has a complex tax return, it is best to work with an accountant to avoid any mistakes.

You must indicate that the tax return is final. On the top of the form, you must write the word “deceased” along with the name and date of death. Electronic filing software will have this as an option during the tax form setup process. In the signature area, you must indicate whether you are filing as the surviving spouse or the personal representative of the decedent.

Filing a decedent’s tax return is an important final step in ordering their affairs. Taking care of this task will help clarify the estate and let loved ones move forward.