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Do I have to file a return for a deceased parent?

Yes -- if your parent had met the filing requirements. The same filing requirements apply to filing a final return for the deceased.

A personal representative must file the deceased's final return. This person must also file any returns the deceased didn't file for prior years. The personal representative can be the:

  • Executor
  • Administrator
  • Surviving spouse
  • Legal representative
  • Person in charge of deceased's property

You or someone listed above must file a return if the deceased's gross income was at least:

  • Single filing status:
    • $10,000 if under age 65
    • $11,500 if age 65 or older
  • Married filing jointly:
    • $20,000 if both spouses are under age 65
    • $21,200 if one spouse is under age 65 and one age 65 or older
    • $22,400 if both spouses are age 65 or older
  • Married filing separately -- $3,900 for all ages
  • Head of household:
    • $12,850 if under age 65
    • $14,350 if age 65 or older
  • Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child:
    • $16,100 if under age 65
    • $16,850 if age 65 or older

Other things to consider:

  • There might be other reasons to file besides reporting income.
  • Even if you're not required to file a return for the deceased, you might be required to file other forms.
  • If a refund is owed, you can't claim it unless you file a return.

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