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Signing the Return

Question: My spouse passed away last year, and I will be filing a joint return. How should I file, how should I sign, and are there any special notations required to indicate my spouse is deceased?


  • Across the top of the return - above the area where you enter your address, write "Deceased," your spouse’s name, and the date of death.
  • When you are a surviving spouse filing a joint return and a personal representative has not been appointed, you should sign the return and write "filing as surviving spouse" in the signature area below your signature.
  • A tax return for a decedent can also be filed electronically. Follow the specific directions provided by your preparation software for proper signature and notation requirements.

Note: You cannot file a final joint return with your deceased spouse if you as the surviving spouse remarried before the end of the year of death. The filing status of the decedent in this instance is married filing separately.

Additional Information:

Category: IRS Procedures
Subcategory: Signing the Return

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224