Tax Talk Blog

The Tax Talk blog is a weekly blog published each Wednesday by the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR). During tax season blogs are posted on both Mondays and Wednesdays. The blog discusses tax tips, DOR programs, and helpful information for tax preparers.

Filing Tax Returns for a Deceased Taxpayer

March 19, 2018

When a spouse, parent or other loved one dies, an Indiana tax return for that person may need to be filed. This process uses most of the same forms as individual income tax filing but is slightly different. The IT-40 booklet has full instructions to guide the preparer through the process.

Do you need to file a return?

If an individual died during 2017 or died after Dec. 31, 2017, but before filing his/her tax return, the executor, administrator or surviving spouse must file a tax return on the individual’s behalf if:

• The deceased was under the age of 65 and had gross income over $1,000;

• The deceased was age 65 or older and had gross income over $2,000; or

• The deceased was a nonresident and had gross income from Indiana.

Reporting the Death

If the individual died on or before Dec. 31, 2017, report the date of death for the taxpayer in the appropriate box located on Schedule 7 on the 2017 individual tax form.

If the individual died after Dec. 31, 2017, but before filing their tax return, the date of death information will be included on the individual’s 2018 tax filing.

There is no requirement to file a tax return if an individual only needs to report the date of death. However, the DOR encourages that a tax return is filed for the deceased individual, even if the legal income threshold is not met. This can help reduce the chances of tax fraud using the individual’s information.

Often, a final state tax filing uses Form I-40 and the date of death is listed on Schedule 7, followed by a Form IT-41 - Fiduciary income tax return that reflects the fiscal year beginning with the date of death and ending on Dec. 31 of that tax year. Confer with a tax specialist or call the DOR to see if you need to file an estate or fiduciary return.

Signing the Deceased Individual’s Tax Filing

If taxes are filed jointly by the surviving spouse, the spouse should sign his or her name and after the signature write: “Filing as Surviving Spouse.”

An executor or administrator appointed to the deceased’s estate must file and sign the tax filing (even if this isn’t the final document), indicating their relationship after their signature (e.g., administrator). If there is no executor, or if an administrator has not been appointed, the person filing the taxes should sign and give their relationship to the deceased (e.g., “John Doe, nephew”). Only one tax filing should completed on behalf of the deceased.

DOR may ask for a copy of the death certificate, so please keep a copy for your records.

Refund Check for a Deceased Individual

If the surviving spouse, administrator, executor or other person receives a refund check and cannot cash it, complete a widow’s affidavit (POA-30) or a distributee’s affidavit (POA-20). Send the completed affidavit, the refund check and a copy of the death certificate to the State Auditor’s Office so a refund check can be issued in the name shown on the affidavit.

DOR can help with questions you may have while preparing tax returns for a deceased individual. Customers may call 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or connect with us through DOR’s social media (@INRevenue) for assistance.

Moved recently? Be sure to change your address with DOR.

March 14, 2018

Have you or your business recently moved? If so, make sure to update your contact information with the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR).

Remember, DOR typically only contacts our customers via mail on any important issues regarding your taxes. By keeping your contact information up-to-date, it allows DOR to resolve any tax issues quicker, which may even lead to a quicker refund (if you’re due).

The good news? You can update the contact information for you and your business online.

Individual Change of Address

Business Change of Address

Be sure to hit “submit” on either form once your changes are complete, so DOR receives your request.

Have additional questions or concerns? Contact our Customer Service Department at 317-232-2240 for Individual income tax questions or 317-233-4015 for Business questions, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., EST.

What is an Identity Confirmation Quiz?

March 7, 2018

Have you received an Identity Confirmation Quiz letter from the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) and were initially confused as to how to respond? With identity theft on the rise, DOR is concerned about protecting the identities of Hoosier taxpayers and is focused on implementing strong identity theft prevention measures. In fact, DOR’s Identity Protection Program is a nationally-recognized program designed to stop identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns and stealing refunds in Hoosier taxpayers’ names. One component of that program is the Identity Confirmation Quiz.

The Identity Confirmation Quiz is an additional level of protection. Not all taxpayers will be sent a quiz, but if you do receive one, know that it is an additional step in the verification process designed to protect taxpayers. Quiz letters are sent by mail and you will not be contacted by email or phone. The letter will first ask you to confirm that the name and address information matches the Indiana tax return you recently submitted. If you find that the name or address information is incorrect, or you did not recently file a return, do not complete the quiz, but rather follow the instructions in the letter about contacting DOR.

The quiz itself is brief and can be completed securely online or by calling DOR. If you go online, you have three minutes to complete it and are given two attempts before you must contact DOR. If you file jointly, just one person needs to respond, either the primary or the secondary filer. You will be asked for three items:

• Refund amount on your Indiana tax return

• Tax year identified on your Identity Confirmation Quiz Letter (underlined in the second paragraph)

• Document Locator Number (DOC LOC) located on your Identity Confirmation Quiz Letter

You have 30 days to complete the Identity Confirmation Quiz. Once you complete it and your identity is verified, tax refunds are processed as normal.

Remember, if you are selected to take the Identity Confirmation Quiz, you will receive a letter from DOR and not a telephone call or email. Don’t throw away the letter or delay in responding. If you do, you could delay your refund. For more information, visit DOR’s Identity Confirmation webpage.