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What Are the Decedent’s Final State and Federal Income Taxes?

As the administrator of an estate, you must file the decedent’s final Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Surviving spouses may file a final joint return for the year of the decedent’s death. Both personal exemptions, the full joint standard deduction, and the married filing joint tax rates are all available for the final joint tax return.

Just because someone has died doesn’t mean he or she gets out of filing income tax returns for the year of his or her death. Well, the decedent doesn’t have to, but you do. So, in addition to preparing the returns for the estate and/or trust, you also have to prepare Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for the decedent.

When preparing Form 1040, make sure you write “Deceased” and the date of death next to the decedent’s name. You may also want to write “Deceased” and the date of death across the top of the return in bold letters or red pen to call out this information for the IRS.

Surviving spouses need not file a separate income tax return in the year their husbands or wives died. Instead, a surviving spouse may file one last joint return.

Both personal exemptions are available, as is the full joint standard deduction, and the slightly lower married filing joint tax rates, even if the deceased spouse died early in the year.

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