Taxes for the Recently Deceased

Updated: Aug 2

Taxes are the farthest thing from your mind when you lose someone. Don't let it be a stress when the time rolls around. Here is what you need to do.




When someone passes away their spouse or their representative will file their tax return.

That may be you. On their tax return you just check the space that indicates them as deceased. That is all the notification the IRS needs: they don't need a copy of the death certificate.


Information for Surviving Spouses:

  • The spouse of the deceased is considered married for the year they passed away unless they remarry; therefore, they are allowed to file either as married filing separately or married jointly.

  • Also, unless an extension is filed then the deceased's return is due at the regular April deadline.

  • If there isn’t an appointed representative, the surviving spouse filing a joint return should sign the return and write in the signature area labeled, filing as surviving spouse.

  • Any appointed representative must sign the return. If it's a joint return, the surviving spouse must also sign it.

Information for Representatives:

  • If there is no surviving spouse or representative then the person in charge of the deceased's property should sign the return as "personal representative".

  • Any appointed representative must sign the return. If it's a joint return, the surviving spouse must also sign it.

  • Court-appointed representatives should attach a copy of the court document showing their appointment.

  • Representatives who aren’t court-appointed must include Form 1310, Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer to claim any refund. Surviving spouses and court-appointed representatives don’t need to complete this form.


We hope this helps. If you are going through this process, we are sorry for your loss and we hope you reach out with any questions or concerns.


This information is provided by the IRS.

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