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Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 29934
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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My wife passed on March 15, 2015 and I filed a joint return

Customer Question

My wife passed on March 15, 2015 and I filed a joint return for 2014 as surviving spouse. However, for the 2015 year filing, it is my understanding that a joint return may also be filed for the whole year if I do not remarry before the end of 2015. Correct? If correct, is an estate tax return, Form 1041, required to be filed covering the short period 1/1/15-3/15/15?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 2 years ago.
Hi and welcome to our site!Sorry for your loss...You are absolutely correct.See page 6 died during the year. If your spouse died during the year, you are considered married for the whole year for filing status purposes.If you did not remarry before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return for yourself and your deceased spouse.. So for 2015 - you could file a joint tax return - and will report all your and your spouse's income received during 2015.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks but you did not answer the part of the question dealing with Form 1041.
Expert:  Lev replied 2 years ago.
Regarding the income tax return for the estate - the estate is created on the day your wife passed away March 15, 2015 - and will exists until it will be closed.An estate is a taxable entity separate from the decedent and comes into being with the death of the individual. It exists until the final distribution of its assets to the heirs and other beneficiaries. The income earned by the assets during this period must be reported by the estate. Generally - every domestic estate with gross income of $600 or more during a tax year must file a Form 1041.
Expert:  Lev replied 2 years ago.
What is included into estate's income?
Gross income of an estate consists of all items of income received or accrued during the tax year. It includes dividends, interest, rents, royalties, gain from the sale of property, and income from business, partnerships, trusts, and
any other sources.
The personal representative of the estate may receive income the decedent would have reported had death not occurred. That is Income in Respect of a Decedent (IRD) and also included into the estate.
In your situation - if gross income of the estate is less than $600 - form 1041 is not required.
If however - it is more - filing is required.
Generally that would be for short tax year - between 3/15/2105 and 12/31/2015.
Expert:  Lev replied 2 years ago.
So all income received by your spouse BEFORE she passed away is reported on your joint 1040, but all income received AFTER she died - is reported on 1041 as for her
On form 1040 - write the word “DECEASED,” the decedent's name, and the date of death across the top of the tax return. If filing a joint return, write the name and address of the decedent and the surviving spouse in the name and address fields. If a joint return is not being filed, write the decedent's name in the name field and the personal representative's name and address in the address field.
Let me know if you need any help with reporting.