How to file income tax return of a deceased person?

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How to file income tax return of a deceased person?
In accordance with the Sec. 159 of the Income Tax Law, liability to file the income tax return and pay-off any remaining tax dues of the deceased lies with the legal representative or executor. This happens as assessment of the income of the deceased is required to be done by the tax authorities up to the time of his death.

However, as otherwise all exemptions and deductions are allowed to the deceased taxpayer for the entire year. Also, the return would comprise only the income earned up to the date the taxpayer was alive and thereafter any receipt of income would be included in the return of the legal heir. Furthermore, proceeds of the refund amount of the deceased taxpayer would be credited in the bank account of the legal representative as he/she is now the assessee for the income of the deceased person.

Legal representative of the deceased

Usually, spouse or close relative of the deceased takes charge as the legal representative. Else, in case of will of the taxpayer who has passed away, the executor is held responsible.

Capacity to which the legal representative or heir is liable to pay-off tax liabilities of the deceased

As assets of the deceased gets transferred to the legal heir, technically he/she becomes the assessee for the income tax of the deceased. Accordingly, the legal heir needs to compulsorily file the return and pay-off tax dues of the assessee who has passed away. However, capacity of the legal heir to clear any pending tax dues is limited to the extent of the financial value of assets of the deceased that are held by him or her.

Process of filing income tax return for a deceased taxpayer

For filing of income tax return on behalf of the assessee who has passed away, legal heir or representative needs to first obtain approval from the tax authorities. Certain documents including certificate of legal heir-ship, PAN of the deceased assessee, death certificate and identity card are to be submitted with the department.

While filing the return, wherein name of the assessee has to be specified, mention Late Mr/Ms. as may be the case through legal representative (name of the person filing the return).

Online filing of the tax return for the deceased is also allowed. For this, legal representative can obtain his digital signature certificate (DSC), which is required to be registered with the e-filing site of the income tax department. Thereafter, legal representative needs to intimate the details of the deceased individual such as name, PAN and date of birth along with his/ her details to the administrator of the e-filing website of department of income tax. The scanned copy of the death certificate of the deceased individual is also to be provided along with other details.

On receipt of the details, the authorities cross-link PAN of the legal representative with the deceased taxpayer. Hereafter, legal representative can e-file return of the deceased taxpayer using his/her digital signature certificate.

Story first published: Friday, August 2, 2013, 15:08 [IST]
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