Tax filing can seem like a complicated process. It gets more difficult when you have to file tax returns of a deceased person. Losing a dear one is emotionally draining. No matter how hard it is, one has to take over the key financial responsibilities soon after the demise of a loved one. To begin with, the process of filing the income tax return for a deceased is the same as that of someone alive, but it can only be executed by a legal heir.
The legal heir files tax return on the deceased person’s behalf for the income earned till the date of death. Here are a few crucial aspects of the filing you should be aware of if filing the returns for a deceased person.
What The I-T Act Says
Section 159 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 says “Where a person dies, his legal representative shall be liable to pay any sum which the deceased would have been liable to pay if he had not died, in the like manner and to the same extent as the deceased.” Furthermore, the section says that the legal representative of the deceased shall be deemed to be an assessee and be be personally liable for any tax payable by him in his capacity as legal representative.
Who Is The Legal Heir
The deceased’s eldest child or spouse is usually considered the legal heir. However, the deceased person before his death can designate another person as his legal heir through a registered will or Power of Attorney. The legal heir needs to produce relevant documents to substantiate his claim. To file the deceased’s returns, the legal heir would need to first register himself with the Income Tax Department website.
Keep All The Relevant Documents Handy
A smooth filing of income tax return requires some crucial documents. So before the filing process, collate all documents like their saving bank account statements, income earned before his demise, interest certificates, statement of capital gains etc. You can also seek the help of a tax expert at this point.
Calculate The Taxable Income Of The Deceased
You will have to calculate the income of the deceased from the beginning of the financial year until the date of death. Using a tax calculator, compute the tax payable by the deceased in the same way it is done for a living person. Take the help of bank statements, investment proofs, Form 16, Form 26AS etc. for income tax calculation. Do note that as legal heir you will have to pay tax for the income earned through an asset after the person’s demise while filing your returns.
Lastly, How To File ITR Of The Deceased
As mentioned above, the process for filing ITR is the same as it is for someone alive. You just need to register yourself as a legal heir with the income tax website to follow the process.
How To Register As Legal Heir
It is mandatory for the legal heir to be registered on the Income Tax Department’s website, and for you to take the e-filing process forward, you need your as well as the deceased’s PAN. Here is a step-by-step guide:
– Go to the e-filing website of the I-T Department and login using your credentials
– In the next step, navigate to ‘My Account’ and select ‘Register as legal heir’ from the drop-down menu
– Select New Request in the ‘select the type of request’ tab and register yourself on behalf of the deceased person.
– Submit the required documents like the death certificate of the deceased, PAN card of the deceased and yourself, and a copy of the certificate of the legal heir obtained through the court of law, a respective local revenue or the local municipal corporation. This will help in ascertaining if you are a legal heir or not.
– The I-T Department after verifying the documents will send you an email or SMS about the approval or rejection confirmation.
Steps After You Get The Approval To File ITR Of The Deceased
– Login again on the income tax filing website https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in with deceased’s credentials.
– Click on the ‘e-file’ tab on the dashboard and click on ‘Income Tax Return’. Identify the relevant ITR form, fill it with relevant information and click on the ‘preview and submit button’ to verify the prepared tax return.
– E-verify the tax return using Aadhaar based OTP.
As a legal heir, you should be aware that in case of any tax default or delays if paying taxes, proceedings can also be initiated against you by the I-T Department. But this will only be dependent on the assets you have inherited from the deceased. Likewise, in case of any refunds, the same will be sent to the deceased’s bank account.
The tax account will be permanently deleted once the last ITR of the deceased in submitted.
There’s no reason to panic about the matter of filing a deceased person’s tax returns. Take your time to collect all the necessary documents and make the filing.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com