PA State taxes
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Returning Member

PA State taxes

I am trying to file my grandparents PA tax returns.  My grandfather passed away in October of 2020.  How do I file for my surviving grandmother?  Do I have to file for my grandfather who has passed?

4 Replies
Expert Alumni

PA State taxes

I'm sorry for your loss.  You can file a joint PA return for your grandmother and grandfather.  Just be sure to mark that your grandfather is deceased.  According to the PA Department of Revenue in How do I file a PA income tax return for a deceased taxpayer?

Effective Jan. 1, 2013 a joint return can be filed by the surviving spouse and decedent when a spouse or taxpayer dies during the tax year if:

  1. The decedent did not previously file a return for the tax year; and
  2. The personal representative, executor or administrator has not
    been appointed by the time the return is made, signed and filed; or
  3. The fiduciary of the decedent consents to the filing of and signs the joint return.
Level 15

PA State taxes

For tax year 2020, your grandparents can still file their tax return as Married Filing Joint.   A joint return needs to show the 2020 income of the deceased spouse prior to death, and all 2020 income of the surviving spouse. 


In the MyInfo section, enter the information for each of them and choose to file jointly.  As you go through the interview, you'll be asked if either taxpayer passed away during the year, and the date of passing.  Enter that information, and then just proceed through the return, entering all the necessary information for each of them.


For tax year 2021 (the return she'll do next year), your grandmother will file either as Single, or, if she has a dependent child, as "Qualifying Widow".


I am sorry for your loss.

**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.**

Returning Member

PA State taxes

When I am going thru the PA tax return and I pick file jointly.  It says that Pennsylvania does not allow a joint return when the primary taxpayer is deceased and the secondary(spouse) taxpayer is alive.  Says I will need to prepare separate returns?

Level 15

PA State taxes

This is copied directly from the 2020 PA Tax Instruction Booklet:


(J) Married, Filing Jointly
You and your spouse, even if living apart or one of you is deceased, can
file a joint return for convenience. The executor(s) of the estate(s) of the
taxpayer and spouse may also elect to file jointly. To file jointly, you must
meet ALL of the following conditions:
1. Your taxable years end on the same date (not including returns with
a deceased taxpayer and/or spouse); and
2. You and your spouse elect to have the same residency period
(earliest starting date if you moved into Pennsylvania and latest
ending date if you moved out of Pennsylvania) if you are part-year
residents; and
3. Neither of you is individually claiming one or more of the credits on
PA Schedule OC, (see Page 22); and
4. Your deceased spouse’s estate has not elected to file a separate
return on his or her behalf; and
5. Neither of you is individually liable for the payment of child or spousal
support, or another liability to the PA Department of Human Services;
6. Neither of you is individually liable for the payment of a court-ordered
obligation arising from a criminal prosecution or proceeding


Page 6,


If your grandparents qualify under these criteria, I'd suggest going back to the My Info section of TurboTax and designating your grandmother as the primary taxpayer, by entering her identifying information first.

**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.**

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