Tuesday, July 26, 2016

This is What Happens With Taxes When Someone Dies

When someone dies, unfortunately, at some point the heirs of the deceased person's estate or the beneficiaries of the deceased person's trust need to address taxes that will be due as the result of their loved one's death. In short, estates valued at $5.34 million or more must file a federal estate tax return using the United States Estate Tax Return.  Estates of nonresident, alien decedents that owe U.S. federal estate taxes must file the United States Estate Tax Return of nonresident or not a citizen of the United States. An inheritance tax is based on who receives the deceased person's property.  Currently only six states collect a state inheritance tax:  Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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When someone dies, their estate will normally have to pay any tax due before any money is distributed to their heirs. The deceased could have paid too much or even too little Income Tax. As a result, the deceased’s estate may owe tax to the government, or it could be owed a tax refund. You may need to complete a self-assessment tax return if the deceased normally did one. If you’re not sure if the deceased regularly submitted a tax return, you will need to have the deceased’s National Insurance number to hand when contacting an agency to help you. Any income received after the person’s death, such as rent from a property or income from the person’s business, belongs to their estate. For this type of income, the executor must report this as part of probate, so that appropriate amount of tax is calculated and paid by the estate. If you're the executor of a deceased person's estate, your responsibilities include filing that person's final personal tax return.  Adam Greene CPA suggests three methods on how to file taxes for a deceased person:

One is gathering the complete information. In this one, first you need to gather the income reporting forms that have been mailed to the deceased person, called the decedent. These forms are usually sent after the last day of January for the previous year and should arrive by the end of February. To complete the request to the IRS, you will need the decedent’s complete name, address and social security number, a copy of the death certificate, a notice concerning fiduciary relationship or a copy of Letters Testamentary approved by the court. Then decide whether to file a joint return. If the decedent was married at the time of death, a joint tax return may be filed for that tax year. And finally, for accounts such as mutual funds and bank accounts, change the ownership to your name as the executor as soon as possible.

Image courtesy Images Money | Flickr

Another is to file the final personal Tax Return. First, you need to calculate the person's reportable income. Income earned between the start of the year and the date of the person's death should be reported on the final tax return. Then you must list income, exemptions and deductions just as you would for yourself. If you choose not to itemize, you can take the full standard deduction. If the decedent didn't file taxes in the years preceding his or her death, you may have to file individual incomes for those years as well. If the decedent is due a refund, you can claim it using Statement of a Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer. And last, write the word "deceased" across the top of form, including the decedent's name and the date of death. Also you must add a specific word in place of the person´s signature at the bottom of the form, depending if you are the spouse or not. If not, add the word “deceased”, and if you are the spouse, add "filing as surviving spouse”.

The third method is filing the Estate Tax Return. For this, you can collect information needed to file estate taxes. If the estate generates more than $600 in annual gross income, a separate tax form must be used to file estate taxes, in addition to personal income taxes. Then, file estate taxes. US Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, is the form you need to report income, gains, losses, etc., related to the decedent's estate. A decedent's estate figures its gross income the same way an individual would; however, a decedent's estate is allowed an income distribution deduction for distributions to beneficiaries. And then, you must report a transfer of assets using United States Estate Tax Return. This form is used to report the transfer of assets from the decedent to heirs or beneficiaries. And to conclude using this method, you need to apply for a Certificate of Discharge before selling property. To apply, you will need the inventory and appraisement of the estate assets, copy of the will, and copies of documents related to the sale of property. This releases the property from the automatic federal tax lien that is attached to a person's estate the day he or she dies.

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