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Real Talk Series: My Mom Died This Year. How Do I File Her Taxes?

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Q: My mother passed away earlier this year. As her main caregiver, I will handle filing her taxes next year. Do you have any tips on how I would go about this? It would be great if this process could be as easy and painless as possible. 

A: We are so sorry for your loss. The death of a loved one is an emotionally challenging time, so the accompanying logistical details can feel harder than usual. To start the process, here is an overview of what you need to know about filing your mother’s taxes.

When a taxpayer dies, filing a final tax return is required to claim any income earned in the year of death. The task of filing the taxpayer’s final return usually falls to the executor or administrator of the estate, but if neither is named, a survivor must do it. The filing deadline is the same April tax deadline of the year following the taxpayer’s death (April 18 in 2017).

In general, your mother’s final tax return should be filed the same way as when she was alive, but “Deceased” is written after her name. You should claim her income she received up to the date of death and claim all of the tax deductions and credits she was eligible for in the year of death.

If your mother is due a tax refund, you can claim the refund using IRS Form 1310, Statement of a Person Claiming a Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer. If your mother owes money, you can submit what she owes with her tax return. But don’t worry about knowing how to file your mother’s taxes or about the specific forms. TurboTax will ask you simple questions and help you file your mother’s final tax return.

Have a “Real Talk” question? E-mail us at realtalk@intuit.com and we may answer it on the TurboTax blog!



Lisa Greene-Lewis

Lisa has over 20 years of experience in tax preparation. Her success is attributed to being able to interpret tax laws and help clients better understand them. She has held positions as a public auditor, controller, and operations manager. Lisa has appeared on the Steve Harvey Show, the Ellen Show, and major news broadcast to break down tax laws and help taxpayers understand what tax laws mean to them. For Lisa, getting timely and accurate information out to taxpayers to help them keep more of their money is paramount. More from Lisa Greene-Lewis

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