Normally, an individual’s personal tax return is due April 30 (or June 15 if the person or a cohabitating spouse has income from a business). Upon death, this does not change unless the date death is after October 31.
If the date of death occurred subsequent to October 31 and the April 30 deadline was previously applicable, the filing deadline for the terminal return is extended to six months after the date of death. For example, if the date of death was November 11, 2010, then the filing deadline is May 11, 2011. I should note here that the opposite is not applicable: if someone passes away say in February, then the return is not due six months later, the April 30 of the following year deadline still applies.
If the date death occurred subsequent to December 15 and the June 15 deadline was previously applicable, the due date is extended to six months after the date of death.
The balance-due date for the deceased’s final tax liability follows a similar protocol. For deaths occurring between January 1 and October 31, the balance-due date is April 30 of the subsequent year. For deaths occurring after October 31 the balance-due date is extended to six months after death.
While there is usually no reason time-wise to panic when it comes to filing terminal tax returns, it would be prudent to keep the above noted deadlines in mind in order to avoid late filing penalties as they do apply in the same fashion as regular tax returns.
More about terminal returns in my next blog!