Rockville Centre, NY asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law, Elder Law and Probate for New York

Q: The IRS sent a notice of unclaimed 2017 refund + demand to file 2018 for a now dead person. Do I still need to file?

I'm the executor of Mother's estate + not in good shape to tackle this or pay to have it done. She died on Nov 4, 2018. I would say it's very unlikely she'd owed taxes, considering expenses from her long illness from Mar 2018 till her Nov 2018 death; all her MDW's were made on IRA's, etc. and she was due a $2000 refund from 2017. I can't imagine her financial situation changed. She was a financial expert with a CMA, CPA, and PHD, previously employed by a 5th Ave actuarial firm as the VP of Finance and Treasurer. She also never cheated, lied or would "cook the books" for herself or anyone else.

3 Lawyer Answers
D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn
Answered
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Englewood, CO

A: You should file 2018 and mark deceased and put the date of death. Without a deceased return the IRS can't know she died.

Benjamin Z. Katz and Bruce Alexander Minnick agree with this answer

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: A tax return is not required if no tax is due, but you are just asking to be harassed by both state and federal taxing authorities if the decedent had any income whatsoever other than social security. What they will do is unilaterally "assess" a tax based upon the income and then you have to scramble to explain why no tax was owed due to overwhelming deductions. Do yourself a favor and hire a tax preparer to prepare a final tax return and get it over with. Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You are obligated to file a 2018 return as a Decedent's final return as executor. You can claim the $2000, and get a refund for 2018. If you do not file, the refund will be taken to pay penalties for failing to file the 2018 return.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

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