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

Military Finishing and Filing the Return

Options for Combat Zone Participants

Claim for Credit or Refund

Filing a Claim

The personal representative must file the final income tax return for the year of death and any returns not filed for preceding years. A surviving spouse may have to file the returns for the decedent.

To make a claim, the decedent's representative must file:

  • A tax return for each year a tax return has not yet been filed
    • Attach Form W-2 with all new returns
  • Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, for each year an income tax return has already been filed

If an individual died after the tax year, but before the return for that year was filed, the return for the tax year is not the final return; it is a regular return. The return for the year the taxpayer died will be the final tax return.

For information on signing a joint return, if one spouse has died or cannot sign the return, review Publication 17; keyword: Signatures.

Example

Bob died in February 2013. His 2012 tax return — due on April 15, 2013 — is not the final tax return. The final tax return would be the 2013 Form 1040, filed in 2014.

Tip

If April 15 falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, the due date is the next business day.

Portions of Forms 1040X, 1040, and W-2.