Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Filing Basics

Verifying Taxpayer Identity

Filing for a Decedent

If you are providing assistance to someone who is filing a return for a decedent:

  • Be aware that volunteers need to take steps to protect a taxpayer's identity and avoid possible identity theft.
  • Ask to see the surviving spouse's identification or a copy of the death certificate.
  • A personal representative may be filing the return for the deceased taxpayer. Verify the identity of the person who is filing for the decedent and ask if they have court documents or other documentation authorizing them to file the tax return.
  • Representatives or surviving spouses who do not have the necessary documentation with them should be advised to return once they have the information. If they cannot provide the information, refer them to a professional tax preparer.

For additional information about filing a return for a decedent, refer to Form 1040 Instructions, Publication 17, and Publication 559.

Publication 17
Publication 559

Publication 17

Publication 559