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Schedule K-1 for Estates and Trusts: General Information

An estate or trust’s income retains its character, and so beneficiaries must be informed of this character. The Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) gives the beneficiary the specific allocation between all items of income, allowing easy transfer from the K-1 to the beneficiary’s Form 1040.

When there is one income beneficiary, the total amount of the income distribution deduction (IDD) is shown on a single Schedule K-1, with allocations made between the different types of income. When there are multiple beneficiaries, you’re required to prepare a separate K-1 for each, with the total IDD divided among the beneficiaries on their K-1s in the same proportion as the distributions were made.

Schedule K-1 allows your beneficiary to separate his or her income distribution into all the sorts of income received by the trust or estate. Because it is an attachment to Form 1041, you must distribute a copy of it to the income beneficiaries no later than the due date for Form 1041, as extended. Remember, the beneficiaries can’t prepare their 1040s until they receive their K-1s from you.

Part I: Information about the estate or trust

In Part I, fill out the tax identification number (the TIN), the name of the estate or trust, and the fiduciary’s name and address. You also have the opportunity to check a box to indicate whether and when you filed Form 1041-T, Allocation of Estimated Tax Payments to Beneficiaries (Under Code Section 643(g)).

By checking Part I, Box D of Schedule K-1, you tell the beneficiary that he or she now has credit for additional tax payments, even though the trustee originally paid them on behalf of the trust.

Code Section 643(g) allows you to assign estimated taxes paid by the trust or estate to individual beneficiaries in the final year of the trust or estate. Because the trust won’t owe any tax in its final year, it doesn’t need the estimated tax payments.

Form 1041-T may only be filed in the final year of the trust or estate, is irrevocable, and must be made on or before the 65th day of the year following the end of the trust or estate’s tax year. If you’ve made a Code Section 643(g) election and allocated the estimated taxes, you have to check Box E to indicate it’s the final year of the trust or estate.

Part II: Information about the beneficiary

Schedule K-1, Part II is about as simple as it gets. On line F, put in the beneficiary’s TIN, and on line G, fill in the beneficiary’s name and address.

In Box H, choose between a domestic or foreign beneficiary, whichever applies. If the beneficiary lives in the U.S., no further information is necessary. If the beneficiary resides in a foreign country, you may want to consult with a tax advisor who can check the foreign tax treaties involved and make sure you’re not required to withhold U.S. income taxes on distributions to this beneficiary.

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