Question

I’m the executor of my mother’s estate and have a question about estate tax rules. She died in 2018, but the estate still isn’t finalized. Should I wait until the estate is final to file estate taxes?

Answer

No.

Estate tax rules dictate that you must file a Form 1041: U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts for any year either of these applies:

  • The estate had $600 or more gross annual income.
  • One or more beneficiaries of the estate are nonresident aliens.

Gross income is income from all sources without subtracting any expenses.

File estate taxes each year by the appropriate filing deadline for the estate’s tax year.

You must file Form 706 within nine months after date of death for estates:

  • More than the estate exclusion amount for the year — $5.34 million in 2014
  • More than $5.43 million in 2015

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