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How To File Income Tax Returns Of A Deceased

Adhil Shetty


Losing a family member may bring unbearable grief to the family. Besides the loss, the family also has to deal with financial matters of the deceased. From transfer and distribution of the wealth and assets to filling of income tax returns, financial matters must be brought to their logical conclusion. The legal heir of the deceased holds the responsibility of filling the returns for the financial year. The income earned is calculated from the start of the financial year till the date of the death of the deceased.

Here is an overview on how to file I-T returns of a deceased family member by a legal heir or legal representative.

Knowing Who Can File ITR For The Deceased

A legal heir is usually the deceased person’s spouse or eldest son/daughter unless otherwise specified by the deceased in a registered will or through any official document like a Power of Attorney (PoA).The onus of paying income tax of the deceased taxpayer lies with the legal heir or the legal representative. You will need to register as legal heir of the deceased either through a court of law if the deceased had a registered will or through a certificate issued by the respective local revenue or the local municipal corporation. Only when you have a document that substantiates your claim as a legal heir, you will be allowed to file your I-T returns on behalf of the deceased individual.

You would require access to deceased’s bank statements, investments and other relevant documents necessary for income tax calculation.

Registering As Legal Heir With The I-T Department

Before you can file the ITR for your deceased relative, you as a legal heir need to register with the I-T Department for the same. Make sure to have the following documents in place.

  • Death certificate of the deceased,
  • PAN card of the deceased
  • A self-attested PAN card as a legal heir
  • Copy of the legal heir certificate.

Here are the steps involved to register as a legal heir.

  • Step 1: Visit the official e-filing portal at https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in
  • Step 2: Login with your credentials and on the dashboard browse to ‘My Account’ section and select ‘Register as legal heir’ from the drop down menu
  • Step 3: Go to the ‘Request type’ and opt for ‘New request’
  • Step 4: Attach and upload the relevant documents as listed above and click ‘Submit’
  • Step 5: A request is then sent automatically to the I-T Department. Your credentials are then evaluated and verified
  • Step 6: Once approved or rejected you will receive an email or SMS confirmation from the I-T Department

Filling Of ITR Of The Deceased

Once you have received approval from the I-T Department, filling of tax returns for the deceased is very simple process.

  • Step1: Log in to the portal at https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in using the login credentials of the deceased
  • Step 2: Click on the ‘e-file’ tab on the dashboard. Then choose the option of ‘Income Tax Return’. Choose the relevant ITR form, prepare the I-T return and click on the ‘preview and submit button’ to verify the prepared tax return. Please note tax calculations are only to be calculated till the date of the death of the deceased and not beyond).
  • Step 3: e-verify the tax return using Aadhaar based OTP as normal.

Points To Remember

Once the ITR for the deceased is processed, the account is permanently deleted by the I-T Department. For any applicable refunds, the same are sent to the bank account of the deceased which can be then accessed by the legal heir as per the banking procedure.

For gains made on income earned after the date of death of the deceased, the tax liability lies in the hands of the legal heir as per the proportion of the assets inherited from the deceased.

The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com.                        

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