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Filing Taxes for a Deceased Loved One

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The passing of a loved one is never easy, and dealing with their finances can make it even more complex. The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) wants to make it easier for people to file taxes on behalf of a deceased taxpayer.

According to ADOR, the person in charge of the deceased estate is responsible for filing the tax return. A surviving spouse may file a joint individual income tax return if the deceased spouse passed away during the tax year and the surviving spouse did not remarry during the tax year.

If the deceased taxpayer did not file a return for the year 2022, the taxpayer's spouse or personal representative may have to file and sign a return for them. A personal representative can be an executor, administrator, or anyone in charge of the deceased taxpayer's property.

The person who files the return should use the individual income tax form the deceased taxpayer would have used if they were alive. The person who files the return should print the word "deceased" after the decedent's name and enter the date of death after the decedent's name.

Most software vendors are approved to file Form 131 with the return electronically, but it is important to verify before filing. If filing by paper, sign and date Form 131 in Part 3 and place the completed Form 131 on top of the income tax return that would have been filed if the decedent was alive. If filing a small business income return, include Form 131-SBI.

For a surviving spouse, if their spouse died in 2022 and they did not remarry in 2022, or if their spouse died in 2023 before filing a return for 2022, they may file a joint return. If their spouse died in 2022, the joint return should show their spouse's 2022 income before death and their income for all of 2022. If their spouse died in 2023 before filing the 2022 return, the joint return should show all of their and their spouse's income for 2022. Print "Filing as surviving spouse" after the surviving spouse's signature. If someone else is the personal representative, they must also sign the return.

If the deceased taxpayer did not meet the filing requirements but had tax withheld, a return must be filed to get a refund. If the deceased individual's estate is due a refund, the claimant will file a Form 131 or Form 131-SBI if filing a Small Business Income Tax return. As the claimant, you must enter your daytime phone number and your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

If the refund is issued in the decedent's name, it may be cashed with the endorsement of the court-appointed executor or the estate administrator. A surviving spouse may file a joint individual income tax return with Form 131 and check box 9a. If you filed your return without Form 131 and received a joint refund check that you cannot cash, you can mail the check with Form 131 to ADOR (see instructions for address), and they will issue a new check in your name.

Only check box 9b if you are the decedent's court-appointed personal representative claiming a refund for the decedent. You must include a copy of the court certificate showing your appointment. A copy of the decedent's will is not sufficient to show that you are the personal representative.

For 9a and 9b, do not include the proof of death with Form 131. Instead, keep it for your records and provide it if requested. Check box line 9c if you are neither the surviving spouse nor have a court-appointed personal representative. You must also complete Part 2 and have proof of death. The proof of death is a copy of one of the following:

  • The death certificate.
  • The formal notification from the appropriate government office informing the next of kin of the decedent's death.

If you need more time to gather documents and file on behalf of the deceased taxpayer, you may file an extension by April 18. Tax returns for people who died in 2022 are due on or before April 18, 2023.

Dealing with the tax return of a loved one who has passed away can be a challenging and emotional experience. However, ADOR hopes that by following these guidelines, the process will be less complicated and overwhelming. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact the Arizona Department of Revenue.
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Thursday, 23 May 2024

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