SIGNING A TAX RETURN FOR A DECEASED SPOUSE: IRS Publicarion #559
SURVIVING SPOUSE & PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE
When signing a tax return for a deceased spouse, the surviving spouse will need to consider the following:
1-Across the top of the return-the area where you enter your name and address, write "DECEASED", your spouse's name, and the date of death.
NOTE: If filing a joint return, write the name and address of the decedent and the surviving spouse in the name and address fields.
If a joint return isn't being filed, write the decedent's name in the name field and the personal representative's name in the name and address field
2-When you're a surviving spouse filing a joint return and a personal representative has not been appointed, you should sign the return and write "filing as surviving spouse" in the signature area below your signature.
3-When you're a surviving spouse filing a joint return and a personal representative has been appointed, you and the personal representative should sign the return.
A decedent taxpayer's tax return can be filed electronically. Follow the specific directions provided by your tax preparation software for proper signature and notation requirements.
You can't file a final joint return with your deceased spouse if you as the surviving spouse remarried before the end of the year of death. The filing status of the decendent in this instance is married filing separately.
The tax return for the year of death is due on the regular due date, generally April 15 in the year following the close of the year of death (unless a timely extension to file was executed).
If a personal representative has been appointed, the personal representative must file the final income tax return (Form 1040) of the decedent for the year of death and any returns not filed for proceding years.
If a personal representative has been appointed, that person must sign the return. If it is a joint return, the surviving spouse must also file the return.
If no personal representative has been appointed, the surviving spouse (on a joint return) signs the return and writes in the signature area "Filing as Surviving spouse".
If no personal representative has been appointed and if there is no surviving spouse, the person in charge of the decedent's property must file and sign the return as "personal representative".
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