In order to claim a federal tax refund for a deceased person, you may need to file Form 1310.
In today’s post, I’ll answer some common questions about requesting a tax refund due to a deceased taxpayer and point out some details and related tax forms that are sometimes overlooked.
Who can request a refund due a deceased taxpayer?
The IRS accepts requests for tax refunds due a deceased taxpayer if they come from the surviving spouse or “personal representative” of the decedent. A personal representative, often called an executor or administrator, is the person responsible for carrying out the will or completing any financial tasks for the decedent.
A personal representative or executor can be appointed in a will or by a probate court. Sometimes the role falls naturally to the widow(er) or heirs. Only the personal representative can file tax returns and collect any tax refund that may be owed.
Which tax forms do I need to file to request a refund due a deceased taxpayer?
First of all, if you’re a surviving spouse filing a joint return, you don’t need to file an additional form to request a refund. However, if you’re a surviving spouse requesting a refund check be reissued in your name, you will need to file a Form 1310.
Also, if you’re a court-appointed personal representative filing an original return for the decedent, you don’t have to complete an additional form to request a refund. However, when submitting the tax return, you must attach a copy of the court document that appoints you the personal representative. A power of attorney or copy of the decedent’s will won’t be accepted as evidence that you’re the court-appointed personal representative. If you’re filing an amended return, you’ll need to complete and attach Form 1310.
In all other circumstances, in order to claim a refund for a decedent, Form 1310 must be completed and attached to the standard Form 1040 tax return filed on behalf of any beneficiaries. It can also be submitted separately if the original tax return has already been filed.
For example, if your parent died, your parent did not have a will, the court did not appoint a personal representative, and you are the sole survivor, then you’ll complete and attach Form 1310 to your parent’s final Form 1040 in order to receive any refund due.
How do I complete Form 1310?
Fortunately, the form is very simple to complete. Here’s how:
At the top of the form, you’ll provide identifying information such as the tax year, the decedent’s Social Security number, the death date, and the personal information for the person requesting the refund.
In Part I, you will simply check one of three boxes indicating whether you are the surviving spouse, a court-appointed personal representative, or someone else.
If you checked the third box, indicating that you’re not the surviving spouse or the court-appointed personal representative, then you’ll complete Part II, where you’ll answer questions about whether there was a will, whether a court-appointed personal representative was or will be named, and whether the person requesting the refund will “pay out the refund according to the laws of the state where the decedent was a legal resident.” Note that if you answer “No” to that last question, you’ll need to submit a court certificate showing that you’re the court-appointed personal representative (or similar evidence) in order to obtain the refund.
In Part III, you’ll just sign and date.
How do I file Form 1310?
Unfortunately, Form 1310 cannot be e-filed. It must be mailed. If you’ve already e-filed the associated tax return, that is completely fine–just follow the instructions below for where to mail the form.
Where do I mail Form 1310?
If you’re a surviving spouse, you’ll mail Form 1310 to the same Internal Revenue Service Center where you filed your return.
If you aren’t the surviving spouse, then you’ll mail the form to the same Internal Revenue Service Center where the original return was filed. If the original return was filed electronically or if you are filing the original return and attaching Form 1310, mail it to the Internal Revenue Service Center address that corresponds to the address of the person requesting the refund.
What other tax forms do I need to file when completing taxes for a deceased taxpayer?
There are several other tax forms you may need to complete if filing federal taxes for a decedent:
Form 1041 should be filed along with Form 1310 if the estate owes taxes because the decedent had assets that generated over $600 of gross income within 12 months of the death and that income did not go straight to the surviving spouse or heirs. This can happen if the decedent owned rental property or held investments that continued to generate income. In order to fill out Form 1041, you’ll need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) since the estate doesn’t have a Social Security number.
Form 56 should be filed by a personal representative or executor in order to notify the IRS that a “fiduciary relationship” has been created or terminated. This means you’re telling the IRS who you are and that you’ll be taking care of the decedent’s financial responsibilities in regards to taxes. If you will be the personal representative for the decedent and the estate, you’ll need to file a Form 56 for each of those roles.
Form 8822 is a handy form for a personal representative or executor to file in order to change the last known address of the decedent. This will ensure that all tax documents, notices, and checks come to the address of the personal representative or executor.
Form 2848 and Form 8821 can be used when the personal representative or executor wants to appoint another person to be an authorized representative of the estate or the decedent and wants to give that person access to tax information.
If you’re wondering who is responsible for paying a deceased person’s taxes, I’ve also written about what to do in that situation. Of course, when someone you love passes away, everything can feel overwhelming and difficult to understand. If you’re experiencing those feelings and have questions about how to handle a decedent’s taxes, it’s always a good idea to consult an accountant.