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Returning Member

Deceased parents income taxes

Both my parents were on long term medicaid and lived in a nursing home. Their last 5 income taxes were not filed bc I could never get the information to file them and the IRS wouldn't give them to me either. My Mom passed in 2016 and my dad passed in 2019. Theres no will, No executor.  I do have a small estate affidavit for my dad so that I could close his bank account. They had nothing. All their income went to the nursing home and their medical bills would make them exempt from ever owing taxes. So do I have to file these pass income taxes and the final income taxes? The IRS is still giving me issues with getting transcripts and Im not going to spend my money to hire an accountant or lawyer. So do I have to file or not?

4 Replies
Level 15

Deceased parents income taxes

It would depend on the source of income and amount whether they were required to file or not.   Only the court appointed representative if the deceased can access tax records or sign and file tax returns.  You would have not obligation to become the executor unless it you need to in order to inherit any assets.


When asking about past tax going back years then professional help is recommended.


Suggest that you read IRS Pub 559 (Survivors, Executors, and Administrators) for a lot of good information about filing the final return and estate return and other requirements.

**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
Not applicable

Deceased parents income taxes

in situations where there is no will, no named executor, the probate court would assign one - it could be a public guardian 


as long as you are not the executor or estate administrator, you have no responsibilities for filing their past returns or any other returns that might be required. 


here's what the iRS says


Tax Responsibilities of an Estate Administrator
A decedent and their estate are separate taxable entities. So if filing requirements are satisfied, an estate administrator may have to file different types of tax returns.

First, an estate administrator may need to file income tax returns for the decedent (Form 1040 series). The decedent’s Form 1040 for the year of death, and for any preceding years for which a return was not filed, are required if the decedent’s income for those years was above the filing requirement. For help, see the Filing the Final Tax Return(s) of a Deceased Taxpayer page.

Second, an estate administrator may need to file income tax returns for the estate (Form 1041). To file this return you will need to get a tax identification number for the estate (called an employer identification number or EIN). An estate is required to file an income tax return if assets of the estate generate more than $600 in annual income. For example, if the decedent had interest, dividend or rental income when alive, then after death that income becomes income of the estate and may trigger the requirement to file an estate income tax return. For help filing an income tax return for the estate see Filing the Estate Income Tax Return (Form 1041) page.

If the estate operates a business after the owner’s death, the estate administrator is required to secure a new employer identification number for the business, report wages or income under the new EIN and pay any taxes that are due. Publication 1635, Understanding Your EIN (PDF) provides information about this requirement.

Some or all of the information you need to file income tax returns for the decedent and their estate may be in the decedent’s personal records. The IRS can help by providing copies of income documents (Forms W-2 or 1099 for example) and copies of filed tax returns or transcripts of tax accounts. If you need these items see the Getting Information from the IRS page.

Third, an estate administrator may need to file an estate tax return (Form 706). Estate tax is a tax on the transfer of assets from the decedent to their heirs and beneficiaries. In general, estate tax only applies to large estates. For help with determining whether an estate tax return is required and how to file it, see the Estate and Gift Taxes page.

Additional information on the duties of an estate administrator is available in IRS Publication 559, Survivors, Executors and Administrators.


Returning Member

Deceased parents income taxes

So no probate, no estate. I did get a small estate affidavit to close the bank account which had $40 in it and that was given to the state bc they were on medicaid.  So does me getting that small affidavit recognizing me as the only heir make me responsible? 


Returning Member

Deceased parents income taxes

State of Texas. So no state income tax

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