What is Form 1310?

Form 1310 is uitlized to claim a tax refund that is owed to a deceased individual. However, it is important to note that only some survivors are required to file this form. In general, a surviving spouse who is filing either an original or an amended joint return with the deceased can claim the refund without filing Form 1310, as can the deceased’s court-appointed or certified personal representative. These individuals are the ones responsible for filing the deceased person’s final tax return and, if applicable, an estate tax return.

Who needs to file Form 1310?

A person who intends to claim a refund for a deceased taxpayer and is neither a surviving spouse filing a joint return nor a certified or court-appointed personal representative must attach Form 1310 to their loved one’s final tax return. Often, this is a surviving relative, such as a child, who is entitled to inherit the deceased person’s property. Additionally, a surviving spouse would need to file the form if they file a separate tax return from their spouse for the year of their death. If the spouse remarries the same year, they will not be allowed to file a joint return with their deceased spouse for that year.

What else should I know about filing a final tax return for a deceased taxpayer?

The final tax return must include notice that the taxpayer has died. If filing a paper return, you can do this by simply writing the deceased person’s name, the word “deceased,” and the date of death across the top of the return. Electronic filing software typically includes instructions for this scenario. The death certificate should not be submitted with the return, but the person who files the final tax return should keep the certificate or other proof of death in their records in case the IRS requests it.

What if my refund check has my deceased spouse’s name on it?

When a person files a joint return with their spouse and passes away before cashing their refund check, the surviving spouse may be left with a check that’s made out to both parties. In this case, the surviving spouse can use Form 1310 to have the check reissued in their name alone. If this describes your situation, fill out Form 1310, write “VOID” across the original check, attach it to the form, and send both of these, along with a written request that the check be reissued in your name only, to the IRS address where you mailed your return. The IRS will mail you a new check in your name.

What if my deceased loved one owed tax?

If tax is owed on a joint return, the surviving spouse is responsible for paying it. Otherwise, tax debt generally passes to the estate and is paid to the government before other beneficiaries receive their shares of the estate. In some cases, even a surviving spouse who filed a joint return may escape liability for taxes owed on that return:

  • The deceased personal representative may, within one year of the return’s deadline (including extensions), revoke a joint return election made by the surviving spouse alone. In this case, the surviving spouse’s return for that year would be filed separately.
  • If errors were made on the joint return that resulted in tax, interest, or penalties, the personal representative may file a request for relief from liability for these costs.
  • The IRS provides for income tax forgiveness for some taxpayers who die in combat zones, due to military or terrorist actions, or while on duty as an astronaut.

Need help with final tax filings?

The tax experts at Rosenberg Chesnov Advisors, a Stable Rock Company, are here to help. Whether you’re an existing client or new to our practice, we can take some of the pressure off by ensuring your loved one’s financial affairs are concluded properly. You can learn more about our financial services for individuals, or find more tax tips on our blog.