How to Sign a Tax Return If the Taxpayer Dies Before Filing Taxes

When a taxpayer dies, a final tax return that reports the income of the deceased must be filed by April 15 following the year of death. Although the deceased can't sign off on his own taxes, a signature is still required on the return. Only the deceased's surviving spouse or his personal representative may sign, but the process is simple and doesn't require additional documents or attachments to evidence the death.

Write the name of the taxpayer, the word “Deceased” and the date of death at the top of the first page of the decedent’s tax return.

Sign the return. As a spouse or personal representative for the deceased, you’ll sign for the taxpayer. Sign your name in the signature field for the taxpayer.

Indicate your authority to sign on behalf of the deceased. If you’re a widow and are filing a joint return with your spouse, write “Filing as Surviving Spouse” next to your signature in the decedent’s signature area. If you’re filing for someone who was not your spouse, but for whom you are the personal representative, write “Personal Representative” next to your signature.

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About the Author

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.