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Who is responsible for paying a deceased person's taxes?

With the end of the year approaching, many St. Paul residents are taking care of a number of matters that must be closed by December 31st, particularly those in the business world. One of these matters may be taking care of tax issues, which will be consuming a great deal of time for many individuals in the weeks and months to come.

Among the individuals who are responsible for taking care of taxes are personal representatives, also known as executors, who handle the estate administration for a person after death. Personal representatives are responsible for filing the deceased person's federal and state income tax returns in the year of their death, as well as making sure that previous year's income tax returns have been filed. If there are any outstanding tax liabilities, the personal representative is responsible for paying off these debts.

This may surprise some, in that the personal representative takes care of these tax issues, even if there is a surviving spouse for the deceased person. The personal representative also must file any income tax returns necessary for the estate itself, which starts on the date of death of the decedent. In addition, the personal representative must comply with federal and state requirements for filing estate taxes, which are based on the value of the estate.

Ultimately, the personal representative has many duties and responsibilities to take care of on behalf of the estate. While handling tax matters are one issue to address, there are many other obligations the personal representative has when managing a deceased person's estate.

Source: Minnesota Courts, "Tax issues for personal representatives," accessed on Dec. 19, 2014

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