How do you file income taxes for a deceased parent?

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My mother died in November 2011. My father's been dead for 13 years. April 15 is coming and I have no idea what to do (or if I should) file federal and/or state income taxes for my mother. She lived in a NH for all of 2011 until she died and her money was spent down on the monthly rent, but there was some money left when she died, which went to me, POD. There was no real estate.

My husband has always done our taxes and, for the past 5 years, my mother's. He's getting nervous about doing hers this year but we don't want to go to H&R Block or anything. I'm hoping it will be fairly simple. Do we need a special form? Her money did generate some interest, so if she actually owes taxes, do we have to pay it?

Any advice or information is very much appreciated. We're in NJ.

Thank you

Answers 1 to 10 of 37
I don't know the answer. If she owes taxes, my guess is that the IRS would look to the estate, which you inherited. I think you need some tax advise from a professional. Sorry I can't give you a better direction, but your info is kind of vague.

For example, how much money did she leave you and is it exempt from inheritance tax? I'm not a tax person, but if your husband is nervous, then there must be a reason. Get some professional guidance.

Good luck and God Bless you. I hope it all works out and is simple.
AARP has a free senior tax assistance program in all states. Some sites are walk-in and some sites require an appointment. So on AARP site to find a site in your state and schedules.

In my mom's and late MIL state, they have VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. In my mom's city it's a United Way/Catholic Charities and University Law school joint program. The volunteers are trained. It's free.

AARP sites don't handle anything complicated. VITA site does but only at the law school. Both require ID's and prior returns and DPOA or executor paperwork.

My MIL died last year and we are doing her taxes, it's a good idea to have the taxes done to present to probate to show there is no IRS debt or other liens. I went to an AARP location first and they sent me to the VITAS law school site as she had 1099-C's (cancellation of debt) and don't do those. Good luck.
Oh and the VITA program is done on a federal grant, so most states have VITA. I think they have to have a law school to partner in order to have it set up.
My CPA handled my mom's....she died last May. I let them handled it I case the IRS had questions. If audited, they will go with me and answer questions.
It would be wise to go to CPA. My husband passed last year. CPA put deceased at top of 1040 Form and I filed jointly. Signed 1040 as survivor.
Tax possibly owed on interest (depends on amount).What money she had at time of death will 1st go to pay her outstanding debts, then to you. Hold on to money you received until her debts (including taxes) are paid.
Well, I didn't think you had to file for a decesed parent but just in case that she may owe Uncle Sam. I would either go to what Igloo suggested that, "the AARP has a free senior tax assistance program in all states."
OR go with what a couple of others had suggested and that was to talk with a CPA if you can afford it. Good Luck.
Top Answer
I want to thank everyone for their advice and the time they took to answer my question. I signed on to this forum a few years back when I needed support and comfort from folks who I believed to be in the same boat as myself: I had an elderly mother who I loved and wanted to see her get the best care possible during the last few years of her life. I'm a realistic person and I knew my brother and I were not going to be the ones to provide her with that. I put her in a NH in Jan 2011 and watched her thrive and regain a smile on her face as she met new friends and was entertained with daily activities. The staff caring for her was wonderful and when she died in Nov 2011 they sincerely shared my sorrow. I've never once had an ounce of regret or any second thoughts about moving her to that home. The decision was made for her well-being and that was my only concern. The reason I'm writing all of this is to say good-bye to this forum. Someone posted an answer to not this tax question but to one I had asked more than a year ago, about how to move my mother to the NH when the time came. The recent response I received to that question was so unnecessarily mean that I've decided to get out of Dodge and leave this site. Thank you to everyone who has helped me through this difficult time of my life. This forum, along with other eldercare forums on the web, are a wonderful resource for those who need an answer to a question or just a hand to hold. God Bless all of you nice people here on Aging Care. To those who aren't so nice....well, I'll just keep my thoughts to myself, just like you should have.
Before you go DogGrrl, I'd call the IRS and ask them what to do. I've had to call them in the past about something, and they were very helpful. Sorry about your mom dying. It will be a year next month since my mom died, so I hear ya. Bye.
DogGrrl, I hope you have not left for there is one thing that I do know about filing income taxes for a diseased parent. Who is the executor or executrix of her estate? The IRS will want you to contact them about her death, plus will want a copy of her death certificate and proof of who the executor or executrix of the estate is. Then, they will give you an ID number to write down beside the signature of whoever executes the will of her estate on the tax return. Also, the money that you inherited from your mother. Was it in a joint account with you having the right of survivorship with her being the main owner and thus liable for taxes on whatever interest that it earned before she died? While there will not be any inheritance tax on that money, whatever interest that account earned while she was alive is. When my mother could no longer do her taxes, as her durable POA, I had to get a identification number from the IRS to place on her tax returns that a CPA does. All they requested was a copy of the durable POA. I sign her taxes using my name with the id code. Why does your husband not want to go to H & R Block or anyone? I'd go to a CPA before I'd go to H & R Block.
cmagnum,

I'm still here - thanks for your answer. My brother and I were co-executors. Her bank account was not a joint one, it was in her name only, with Payable upon Death to myself and my brother. It earned some interest in 2011, so I figured she would owe something. I guess that'll have to come out of the inheritance. My husband will be calling the IRS - thanks to everyone who suggested that. The reason he (and I) don't want to go to H&R Block is simple: they charge money. We may end up having to spend some on a CPA anyway if this all gets too complicated, but her estate was so simple, I'm hoping we'll be able to figure it all out.

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