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6 Answers

how to notify irs of taxpayers death?

Asked by: Jesica Hogan 753 views YA Discussion

My father died in January of this year, my mother is unable to take care of their finances. They were basically left without assets at his time of death-medical costs etc ate up everything they had. They don’t own their home etc. My mother recieves social security based off my dads earnings. That is her only income. I keep receiving Irs notices saying my dad owes over 18,000 in taxes from 2007. Which is totally impossible because hes been ill for several years and he has certainly not earned enough to owe that much in tax for many years. I decided I would call and let them know he passed away-so maybe they would give me more information on what to do- I.e. would my mother be responsible for this debt? Would they leave her alone since she makes little to begin with? The agent on the phone sounded skeptica when I said he died with no money or assets ( surely this must happen a lot?) . She didn’t ask me to send in any documents just that she would notate his account…sounded strange to me, I expected more official instructions I guess. Has anyone else had to deal with this? Similar?


6 Answers



  1. E G on Dec 04, 2012 Reply

    My parents had to do this for my grandmother but here is the number to call irs

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    Telephone Assistance

    Live Telephone Assistance
    When calling, you may ask questions to help you prepare your tax return, or ask about a notice you have received. Please be aware that when you conclude your discussion, our system will not permit you to return to your original responder.

    Telephone Assistance for Individuals:
    Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040
    Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

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  2. lookat on Dec 04, 2012 Reply

    Hire an attorney. Various Legal Aids groups in America work on a sliding scale basis.
    To just send a letter to the tax office letting them see a copy of the death certificate will perhaps correct the issue you are having at this moment but even then you need a lawyer. good luck and God bless.

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  3. tro on Dec 04, 2012 Reply

    the SSA needs to be notified of the death of your father, for one thing SSA provides $ 255 for funeral expenses
    you mentioned you talked with an agent? for SSA or IRS? these are two separate agencies and the SSA is the primary for death notification
    you probably would do well to have a power of attorney effected for your mother(as a family member) and see what you can find about the $ 18000 tax debt, especially if he has not worked in years
    this is something that needs to be cleared up for the sake of your mother, if they filed joint returns she is as liable as he was
    in the end it might be one move to submit an Offer in Compromise which if she is unable to pay anything might result in getting the account in the uncollectible status

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  4. Quick Answers on Dec 04, 2012 Reply

    Calling the IRS was something you were allowed to do. However, you weren’t your dad, your mother or the executor on file so the IRS representatives can’t tell you anything. They can notate the account and forward it to the collections area. That area will contact your mother for more information.

    Your contention that the estate is insolvent (no remaining assets to pay the remaining debts) needs to be verified. If they can determine that your mother got nothing from your father, has nothing from your father and the debt from 2007 is NOT from a joint return, they may in fact close the account.

    Without account printouts it’s hard to know exactly what happened.

    You say the letter states 2007 only. You also seem to believe that your dad has not been working in a long time because of his illness, so you don’t think he even filed.

    The problem is, when someone doesn’t file, the IRS computers run a document matching program based on the forms they have copies of. In addition to W-2s, the IRS gets 1099s. If your father liquidated assets such as stocks and bonds, he would have gotten a 1099-B. If your father emptied an IRA or 401K plan, he would have gotten a 1099-R. When there is no tax return, the IRS first asks for it and then finally does one for you. Since they don’t have input from the spouse, the form is filled out as married filing separately, uses the standard deduction, one exemption and the totals from the forms. the 1099-B sales are a problem as the IRS knows the total the assets were sold for, but not the cost basis. Items sold at a loss will look like a gain. This can easily create a huge tax bill.

    To research this is a problem. You need the executor to contact the IRS and ask for copies of the income transcript and account transcripts and then have an enrolled agent decode them for you. If the issue *is* cost basis and you can find his records, the return for 2007 can be filed and the debt reduced. If there are records showing the medical expenses incurred in 2007, itemizing them could also reduce the debt. Showing there wasn’t a debt is also a way to stop the letters.

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  5. Pascal the Gambler on Dec 04, 2012 Reply

    A final return of him for 2012 is filed. It is indicated on said return that he passed away.

    If the 2007 debt was from a joint return, yes, she owes it. You need to get a POA or show you are the estate executor to get the IRS to talk to you.

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  6. Max Hoopla on Dec 04, 2012 Reply

    Social Security is informed of deaths by the county office that records death certificates and IRS gets that information. Social Security after they process it so they know.

    Who owes the delinquent tax (according to IRS), your father alone or both your parents. If it is both, your mother is one of the taxpayers and can deal with it herself or appoint a representative. This can be an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent or close family member. How the mystery ultimately gets sorted out is, obviously, a mystery at this point and if it’s wrong, it can be fixed.

    If the taxpayer is your father alone it becomes more complicated. If there are assets that were his alone they would need to be probated and the administrator of the estate would contact IRS. If your father left nothing other that what can be generally described as household goods and personal effects (furniture and clothing) then the quick and dirty answer is that IRS will ultimately write the case off as uncollectible so who cares if the bill is right or not. You can call IRS and “talk at them” delivering the news but don’t expect anything in return other than “thanks for calling.”
    .

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