The old adage about the inevitability of death and taxes applies in Indiana just as it does in other states. If an income-earning resident of the state dies, he still may have a tax liability which the state will assess against his estate. A representative of the deceased must file a tax return on the decedent's behalf in accordance with state law; the forms, rules and income tax rates remain the same.
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If a resident of Indiana dies, state law requires the filing of a final tax return covering the year of the taxpayer’s death. The surviving spouse must file the return on the taxpayer’s behalf; otherwise, the executor or administrator of the estate must file the return.
The filing requirements vary with the age of the deceased. For those younger than age 65, Indiana requires the filing of a tax return if the taxpayer had more than $1,000 in gross income. For those taxpayers age 65 or older, the minimum rises to $2,000. The state also mandates filing if the deceased did not live in Indiana, but still earned money from an Indiana business or employer.
The tax form is filled out in the usual way, with income and deductions listed and tax calculated according to net taxable income. The Indiana state tax form also has a check box if the taxpayer is deceased and requires the month and day of death for the taxpayer. The surviving spouse, executor or administrator signs the return on behalf of the deceased taxpayer, adding his capacity or relationship after the signature. The Indiana Department of Revenue may ask for a copy of the death certificate.
Any taxes due are levied against the estate of the deceased, which must pay the tax before settlement of estate. If the deceased is entitled to a refund, the state will issue the refund check in the name of the deceased. In some cases, a bank or other financial institution will not accept the check for cashing or deposit. The surviving spouse, executor or administrator of the estate then must file an affidavit with the Indiana Department of Revenue, which will then replace the check.
The Indiana Department of Revenue is the state agency responsible for collecting taxes and accepting tax returns. If you have questions about Indiana tax law, visit the DOR website or call the agency at 317-232-2240. For information on federal taxes, refer to "IRS Publication 559: Survivors, Executors, and Administrators."