Advice for Filing a Tax Return After a Death

Advice for Filing a Tax Return After a Death
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Tribune News Service
By Joy Taylor and Lisa Gerstner From Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Question: I’m having to file a tax return for someone who recently died. Any tips?
Answer: The returns should be signed by the executor or other representative and, if the decedent was married, the surviving spouse. If filing a paper return, write the word “deceased” and the decedent’s name and date of death at the top.

A court-appointed representative must attach a copy of the court document showing the appointment. Non-court-appointed representatives submit Form 1310 with the 1040 if seeking a refund. Surviving spouses needn’t file the 1310.

If there’s no representative, the surviving spouse would just sign his or her name and write “filing as surviving spouse” in the decedent’s signature box. A surviving spouse can use either married filing jointly or separately as the filing status for the year of the decedent’s final federal income tax return.

And don’t forget the qualifying widow or widower filing status. This lets surviving spouses with dependent children use the income tax brackets and standard deductions for joint filers for two years after the decedent’s death. For example, say a wife dies in 2022 and the husband is left with two minor kids. The husband can file a joint return next spring. Then for the 2023 and 2024 returns, the husband can file as a qualifying widower, provided he is still unmarried at the end of 2023 and 2024 and claims dependent children for those years.

Question: I opened a TreasuryDirect account years ago and have lost my account number. What do I do?
Answer: Go to www.treasury and fill in your personal information. It must match exactly what TreasuryDirect has on file—so if you have moved, for example, you may have to list a previous address. If the information matches, you’ll answer three security questions. If you respond successfully, you’ll receive an email with your account number.
Question: I’m having trouble buying or managing bonds with the TreasuryDirect website. How can I get help?
Answer: You can call TreasuryDirect at 844-284- 2676, but given the influx of interest in I bonds, be prepared to wait on hold. If the number of callers in the queue becomes too great, an automated message may notify you that TreasuryDirect is no longer accepting calls for the day.

You can reach TreasuryDirect by email at [email protected], but the TreasuryDirect website recently noted that email communication is being temporarily limited because of heavy contact volumes. To get a response, you must have a pending case and include your case number in the email subject line.

(Joy Taylor is editor of The Kiplinger Tax Letter and Lisa Gerstner is a contributing editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. For more on this and similar money topics, visit

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The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.
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