Knowledge Base

10491: 1040 - Joint Return with Deceased Taxpayer

1040 Individual

The primary taxpayer died this year (during the year following the tax year). How do I prepare a MFJ return for the surviving spouse?

If the decedent spouse died during the tax year, or during the year following the tax year (the “processing year”), the return can be e-filed Married Filing Joint, since the surviving spouse is considered married during the tax year.

  • Enter the decedent spouse’s date of death on screen 1 in the appropriate Date of Death field. This
    • produces Note 285 and EF Message 6038,
    • annotates the decedent's name as "Deceased" on the 1040, displays the surviving spouse's name in the Home address field, and inserts "Filed as surviving spouse" in the decedent's signature field.
  • To e-file the return, also enter the surviving spouse's name in the In care of field on screen 1 (or the name of the individual to whom correspondence should be addressed). This
    • clears both the Note and the EF Message
    • and displays the In care of field name in the Home address field of the 1040.

Note 285 advises that the software will use the surviving spouse's name in the In care of field. EF message 6038 requires entries in the In care of address fields.

If the date of death is after the processing year, EF Message 1032 is produced advising that the date of death must equal the current tax year or processing year and must match data from the IRS Master File. In this event, the return cannot be e-filed.

The Social Security Administration locks SSNs after death. If the taxpayer's SSN is locked by the SSA prior to the filing of the return, the return will be rejected with EF reject code IND-901 or IND-941. See Related Links below for more information.

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