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  • Bret Clapier

Step-by-Step Instructions to Notify the IRS of a Death


If you are here, you likely are in the thick of settling a loved one's estate. You are in charge of taking care of logistics while grieving a loss. This is a HUGE task and our content is built to make sure you have some help as you work through the steps.


Maybe you have thought about this, maybe not, but it is important to let government agencies know of someone's passing. If you are using a funeral home through this process, they may contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) on your behalf regarding a death. If they do, then the SSA will contact the credit bureaus and the IRS to notify them of the death. This may be a standard part of their process, but in case it is not, let us walk you through the steps to let the IRS know


Notifying the IRS About Your Loved One’s Death

Notifying the IRS will protect the deceased's estate from being tied up and it is required if your funeral home has not let them know.


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Step 1: Send the IRS a copy of the death certificate

Your first action will be sending a copy of your death certificate to the IRS. Mail the copy of the death certificate to the campus where the deceased would have normally filed his or her taxes. You can find that location by searching by the deceased's zip code here. Once the document is received, officials at the IRS office will flag the account that the person is deceased.


Step 2: Notify a credit agency of your loved one’s death

The IRS recommends that executors contact all three credit bureaus to report a death. However, the credit agencies’ websites say that it is only necessary to notify one agency, and that agency’s employees will share the information with the other two. To let the credit bureaus know about a passing you can mail a copy of the death certificate and include legal proof that you are the executor of the estate. This helps the agency flag the account as belonging to a person who has died.

Step 3: Request a copy of the deceased’s credit report

The spouse or executor of the estate may request a credit report for the deceased using snail mail. It is less likely that you will be able to get a copy digitally, so expect to receive the report through the mail. You will need to send a letter with the legal name of the deceased, their Social Security Number, their date of birth and their date of death. Other things to include in the letters are the last address of the deceased and a copy of the death certificate. Include your name and address and send the letter to any of the three addresses below.


Equifax P.O. Box 105139 Atlanta, GA 30348-5139

Experian P.O. Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016


Step 4: Look over the reports

Look over reports to see if there is any suspicious activity. Check for accounts that seemed to have been opened without your knowledge. In addition to looking for fraudulent activity, you can use the report to help you close the estate. The credit reports will have all the names and contact information for the companies that your loved one may have done business with throughout the years. You can use this info to contact each company and close accounts.


Step 5: Include a copy of the death certificate in the tax returns.

Executors of trusts must file tax returns for the deceased. Include a copy of the death certificate with the last tax form.


Why You Should Notify the IRS About Your Loved One’s Death

Deceased individuals are prime targets for identity theft. You can protect the assets of your loved one’s estate by monitoring their credit closely. Look for signs of identity theft soon after your loved one dies and notify authorities immediately if you suspect fraud.


Other Tax Responsibilities for Estate Executors

Executors are responsible for filing a tax return for the deceased as well as the estate, according to the IRS website. Use Form 1041 to file an income tax return for the estate. You will need the tax identification number (or employer identification number) to file this return. You must complete this step if the estate generates more than $600 in assets.


Keep in mind that after the time of death, any interest that is accrued or dividends or income that is received is now taxable income. This means that even if the estate previously did not have to file a return, the executor may need to do this after the person died. If you’re struggling to find the necessary tax documents to assist you to file a return, contact the IRS. Representatives may be able to provide W-2 forms or 1099s for the deceased.


Sources

  1. “How Do I Obtain a Credit Report for a Deceased Person?” help.equifax.com/s/article/How-do-I-obtain-a-credit-report-for-a-deceased-person.

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