How to File for Tax Forgiveness

Death and taxes might be inevitable, but under certain circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service will forgive taxes. If an individual passes away during military service, because of a terrorist act or during a flight into outer space (such as would be undertaken by an astronaut), the IRS will forgive his taxes. The agency also will refund any taxes paid, even those withheld during the payroll process. Filing for forgiveness is not complicated.

Return Filed Before Death

Download Forms 1040X and 1310 from the IRS website. You might also find the printed forms at some post offices, libraries and government office buildings.

Write the decedent's name and date of death at the top of Form 1040. Write also the word "deceased."

Notate the cause or military mission at the top of Form 1040X. The IRS uses "Desert Storm -- KIA" and "Iraq -- KIA" as examples. Write the words in bold letters. On the line where you would normally print the amount of total tax, write these words again.

Fill out and sign Form 1310. The form requires identifying information, along with basic data about the decedent's estate administration.

Attach the decedent's original Form 1040, proof of death and Form 1310.

Mail the Form 1040X with attachments to the following address: Internal Revenue Service, 333 W. Pershing, P5-6503, Kansas City, MO 64108

Return Not Filed Before Death

Download Forms 1040 and 1310 from the IRS website.

Complete Form 1040, computing the tax in the process. Write the word "deceased," along with the decedent's name and date of death in bold letters at the top of the form. Write also the military or aeronautic mission, such as "Enduring Freedom -- KIA" or "Explorer Shuttle -- KIA."

Fill in Form 1310. Make the same cause and date of death notations at the top of Form 1310 as those at the top of Form 1040.

Attach Form 1310, proof of death and Forms W-2 to the Form 1040 and mail to the IRS. The address as of 2012 is 333 W. Pershing, P5--6503, Kansas City, MO 64108

Items you will need

  • Death certificate
  • Certification letter from federal employer
  • DD Form 1300
  • Decedent's year-of-death return


  • The IRS will accept as proof of death "a statement that the individual was a U.S. employee on the date of injury and on the date of death." The statement should also confirm that the individual died in action. Department of Defense employees need to submit DD Form 1300, the report of casualty form. Non-military federal employees killed in the U.S. need a death certificate and a letter of certification from the employer. Federal civilian employees killed abroad must have a certification from the Department of State.


  • If your spouse is deceased and you filed your taxes jointly, the IRS forgives only the spouse's taxes.

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About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.