Friday, June 26, 2009

Fiduciary Duties – The Missing Income Tax Return

You are now acting as the executor of an estate and your attorney informs you that you are responsible for seeing that all tax returns are timely filed. At your attorney’s suggestion, you look for a past income tax return among the piles of papers in the decedent’s home. To your chagrin, you are unable to find any tax returns or information that would lead you to the decedent’s accountant. This is really not an uncommon scenario, particularly if the decedent was elderly, mentally and/or physically infirm. Under these circumstances, you must take the time to gather sufficient information to file all returns (past and present).

If all else fails, you must get the information from the IRS. You will first need to inform the IRS of your authority to act as the fiduciary of the estate. This is done by filing IRS Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship. You also file IRS Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to specify the returns and the years that you are requesting. It may take up to 60 days for the IRS to respond.


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