There are several odd events due to which an assessee/taxpayer misses to file his/her income tax returns on time. He may file his returns later by paying some penalties (if any) as tax department given some flexibility to do so. But, remember! not filing of your income taxes is not  at all recommended.

Have you ever thought of, what happens if the taxpayer dies before he/she files the returns and he/she has some amount of claims to get refunded or tax liabilities to be paid?

Further questions may arise out of such unfortunate event;
1. Can filing of tax returns be ignored in such case?
2. Who will do the filing of tax returns on behalf of the deceased assessee?
3. How to file tax returns in such case where the taxpayer is not alive?
4. In case of any tax liabilities, who will have to pay the taxes?

Answer to the very first question is.. No! In the event of death of the assessee the filing of tax returns cannot be ignored. A dead person is entitled to all the deductions and exemptions for the entire year, but tax is levied only on the income earned till his/her death. On his/her death, the income from his/her assets and the tax liability is transferred to his/her legal heirs.

So the filing of tax returns becomes the responsibility of the Legal Heir (LH). This means the legal heir can file the tax returns on behalf of the deceased assessee. Filing of tax returns by LH is not at all a cumbersome task. Follow the process below, which has been given by Income Tax Dept. to execute filing in such situations by LH.

For Online filing of Tax Returns:
For filing of e-returns by Legal Heir (LH) can be done by using Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). The DSC of the legal heir, so obtained can be registered in the ITD e-filing website as follows:

  1. The legal heir (LH) has to get a DSC in his/her own name.
  2. LH is required to make a request by sending a mail to mentioning the name, PAN, Date-of-Birth of deceased as well as that of the LH along with scanned attachment of the death certificate of the deceased.

On receipt of above by the e-filing administrator, the Legal heir’s PAN will be linked to the deceased assessee and a confirmation email will be sent to email id of the legal heir. Now LH would be enabled to file the return of deceased using LH’s Digital Signature Certificate (DSC).

For Offline filing of Tax Returns:
For offline filing of tax returns, the legal heir of the deceased assessee has to visit to the A.O. (Assessing Office) and produce the required details such as, self ID proof i.e. PAN, relationship proof with the deceased assessee, death certificate of the deceased assessee, as well as PAN copy of the deceased. After verifying, the documents the AO will provide the approval for filing the tax returns for the deceased assessee to the legal heir/representative. Now the legal heir can file the tax returns on his/her own or he/she can take the help of any tax experts through offline mode.

Remember! While filing it is required to put the name of the assessee, write down late (name of deceased) through legal heir (name of person filing). The legal heir will also have to submit a copy of the death certificate and surrender the PAN card of the deceased.

If there is any refund due to the taxpayer, it will go into the dead taxpayer’s account. But under Section 159, the legal heir of the taxpayer shall be liable to pay any sum which the deceased would have been liable to pay if he was alive. However, this recovery cannot be more than the amount inherited by the legal representative from the deceased taxpayer.

How to file Income Tax Returns if the Taxpayer has expired?

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