Background: The Decedent's Last Tax Return
Normally, the decedent's last regular tax return must be filed by the court-appointed representative of the estate. If the taxpayer's date of death was before April 15, two more tax returns will be due, and the personal representative must file any missing tax returns for previous tax years. Form 1310 may have to be filed with tax returns for tax years in which a refund is claimed, although the form will not necessarily be filed by the representative.
Who Must File
A surviving spouse filing an original or amended return jointly with the deceased taxpayer for a tax year prior to the taxpayer's death can claim a tax refund.. So can a court-appointed representative filing an original tax return on behalf of the estate, as long as the court certificate establishing the personal representative's authority is included with the tax return. A surviving spouse not filing jointly and a personal representative filing an amended return on behalf of the decedent must file Form 1310.
Where to File
Form 1310 may normally be sent to the address where the decedent's tax return was or will be filed. Any exceptions are contained in the instructions to the type of tax return filed on behalf of the decedent. You may send a request to re-issue a joint refund check to your local IRS office.
Joint Refund Checks
In many cases, Form 1310 must be filed because the decedent filed jointly, a refund check was issued by the IRS in the name of both spouses and the surviving spouse wishes to have the check re-issued in her name alone. In this case, there is no need to attach a tax return to Form 1310. Rather, attach the joint refund check to Form 1310, file it and await a new check.
Proof of Death
You do not need to file proof of death with Form 1310. However, if you are not either a surviving spouse requesting re-issuance of a refund check or a court-appointed personal representative of the decedent's estate, you must obtain and keep a proof of death. Acceptable proof of death includes a copy of the death certificate or a formal notification of death issued by a government agency.