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Tax.appeal.168
Tax.appeal.168, Tax Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3444
Experience:  3+ decades of varied tax industry exp. Tax Biz owner
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My sister's husband died last year. He never filed a tax

Customer Question

My sister's husband died last year. He never filed a tax return. She always filed as single. She has been receiving letters from IRS which she never opened as they were addressed to him not her. He died without a will or any death insurance. What is her responsibility in not opening notices/letters? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

Since she was married, she should have been filing either married, filing jointly or married filing separately. As for her obligation to open the letters addressed to her deceased husband, I think it would be in her best interest to do so, especially if she happens to live in a community property state. As she was married to him, even if she does not live in a community property state, it is wise for her to open the mail from the IRS. Her ignoring the letters is not going to make them stop coming.

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Community property states:

There are nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Alaska is an opt-in community property state that gives both parties the option to make their property community property.

Let me know if you require further assistance with this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Forgot to mention she had legal separation even though they lived together.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Seems my last question did not deliver to you. Can you help her if I can. Convince her to open letter?
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

No, I didn't see the last question. Ok on the legal separation matter.

Q: Can you help her if I can. Convince her to open letter?

A: As I don't know the nature of the letters, I don't know if I can help her or not. She will first have to open the letters to see what thr nature of the letters are.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok you state that it would be in her best interest to open letters but she feels that since they are not addressed to her she has no legal obligation to do so. What exactly is illegal in her not opening the letters. What exactly can the irs do if she does not respond to them?
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

I am not an attorney, therefore I cannot elaborate on the legal ramifications of opening or not opening the letters are.

Q: What exactly can the irs do if she does not respond to them?

A: THE FOLLOWING IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE...JUST MY PERSONAL OPINION.

As she was legally separated, to the best of my knowledge, the IRS cannot do anything to her. What she can do is to call the IRS, let them know that she was legally separated from the guy when he died, and that she keeps receiving letters that are in his name, and she doesn't want to open them because she does not feel that it is her legal obligation to open them.

1-***-***-****. She can also return the letters to the IRS unopened, marked "Deceased Person". Again, without knowing the nature of the notices, it is hard to say what action needs to be taken.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oops did not know you were not tax attorney. Looks like I need to cancel my $48. How do I do that? Thanks for your opinion. Will let her know. Take care.
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

There are some Tax Attorneys on the site, I'm just not one of them. I can send your request to customer service.

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