In general, the final individual income tax return of a decedent is prepared and filed in the same manner as when they were alive. All income up to the date of death must be reported and all credits and deductions to which the decedent is entitled may be claimed. File the return using Form 1040 or, if the decedent qualifies, one of the simpler forms in the 1040 series (Forms 1040-A or 1040-EZ). More information is available in the Form 1040 Instructions, in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, and in IRS Publication 559, Survivors, Executors and Administrators.
If the decedent has not done so, you may also have to file individual income tax returns for years preceding the year of death. From IRS correspondence you find in their personal records, you may learn that the decedent has not filed required returns. You may also obtain verification of non-filing and certain income documents of the decedent from the IRS using IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. Before you submit any information request to the IRS, see Getting Information from the IRS.
If tax is due on the decedent’s individual income tax return for the year of death, or on any returns you file for preceding years, submit payment with the return or see Make a Payment for other payment options, including payment by debit card, credit card or electronic funds transfer. If you can't pay the amount due immediately, you may qualify for a payment plan or installment agreement.
If the decedent is due a refund of any individual income tax (Form 1040), you may claim that refund using IRS Form 1310, Statement of a Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer.