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The fiduciary of a domestic decedent's estate, trust, or bankruptcy estate uses Form 1041 to report:
The income, deductions, gains, losses, etc. of the estate or trust;
The income that is either accumulated or held for future distribution or distributed currently to the beneficiaries;
Any income tax liability of the estate or trust; and
Employment taxes on wages paid to household employees.
The fiduciary (or one of the joint fiduciaries) must file Form 1041 for a domestic estate that has:
Gross income for the tax year of $600 or more, or
A beneficiary who is a nonresident alien.
Death benefit is generally not taxable and so is not included in gross income. Capital gain on sale of trailer will be included in the tax return. However, if you sell it in a short time after the death, there is not gain since the cost basis is stepped upto fair market value. So if the gross income is not $600 or more you are not required to file FOrm 1041 and hence, the attorney may be right.
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Please note: This advice is provided with the understanding that all the relevant facts have been provided by you. Any change in facts might affect the advice given and hence may not be relied on in such cases.
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