Life is full of uncertainties. The only aspect of life that we can be truly certain about is death. When a person dies, then many things need to be considered by family members like filing of insurance claims, getting legal heir certificate, transfer of properties in the name of legal heir , filing of nomination claims in banks/demat etc. One of the main aspects after the death of individual is filing ITR of deceased. Many questions come to the mind of family members e.g. How to file ITR after death of a person? Who can file ITR of deceased? Who will sign ITR after death of individual?  Whether ITR of deceased need to be filed or not? Let’s discuss many of such questions in this article.

1. Who will file ITR after death of a person?

Individual’s legal heir/representative need to file the return on his/her behalf for the income earned till the date of death. Legal heir has to register himself/herself at the income tax website for filing the return on behalf of deceased.

2. For which year/s ITR of deceased is required to be filed?Benjamin Franklin

ITR of deceased has to be filed, if the person had income above Basic exemption limit in the previous year in which person died or any other previous year for which ITR was yet to be filed by deceased. For example, if person died on 15.08.2020 and income of for period 01.04.2019-31.03.2020 and 01.04.2020 to 15.08.2020 is above basic exemption limit, then ITR of both AY 2020-2021 & AY 2021-2020 is required to be filed by legal heir as representative. Sometimes income may be less than exemption limit, but even then ITR need to be filed for getting Refund of TDS deducted for Bank Interest or Rental Income or any of other income in the name of deceased.

3. Income Tax Refund of deceased will be paid in which Bank Account?

Income Tax Refund in the name of deceased will be credited to Bank account of legal heir registered on e-filing Portal.

4. How to register yourself as Legal Heir?

To Register as Legal Heir perform the following steps:-

1. Legal Heir should Login to ‘e-Filing’ Portal from his/her own E-filing Account (Not e-filing account of deceased)

2. Go to the ‘My Account’ menu located at upper-left side of the page

3. Click ‘Register as Representative’

4. Select the ‘Request Type’ as ‘New Request’

5. Select the ‘Category to Register’ as ‘Deceased (Legal Heir)’

6. Click ‘Proceed’

7. Provide the required ‘Information & Documents’

8. Click ‘Submit’.

Success Message will be displayed confirming the submission of request to ‘Register as Legal Heir’.

5. What documents are required for getting registered as Legal Heir?

Following documents are required for getting registered as Legal Heir

√ Copy of the PAN card of Deceased

√ Copy of the PAN card of the legal heir

√ Copy of Death Certificate

√ Copy of Legal Heir Proof

√ Copy of Notice/Order received (if reason of registration is entered as notice received/filing appeal etc)

6. What documents are accepted as Legal Heir Proof?

Following documents are accepted as proof of legal heir.

√ Legal Heir Certificate issued by Court of Law /Local Revenue Authority.

√ Surviving family member certificate issued by the Local Revenue Authority.

√ Family Pension certificate issued by Central/State Government.

Registered will.

√ Letter issued by the banking or Financial Institution in their letter head, with official seal and signature mentioning the particulars of nominee or joint account holder to the account of the deceased at the time demise.

Any one of the above documents needs to be submitted as proof.

7. In which format scanned documents are required to be uploaded?

All the required documents are to be uploaded in PDF format only. Maximum size for each file is 1 MB.

8. What if Legal Heir Certificate/Registered Will is in the language other than English/Hindi?

Hindi/English translation version, duly notarized, along with copy of original documents is required to be uploaded.

9. Whether reason for registration to be provided in every case?

The Legal heir should select the ‘Reason for Registration’ if the date of death entered is for a period for which return filing timelines have lapsed u/s 139 of Income Tax Act. Then one of the following reasons needs to be selected-

√ Filing of an appeal against an order passed in the name of deceased

√ Filing of return of income/form of period in which deceased was alive through condonation request

√ A notice/order received from Income Tax Department in the name of the applicant for compliance on behalf of a deceased

√ Submit service request such as refund re-issue/rectification request etc of proceedings concluded in the name of deceased

√ Any other reason (if applicable)

10. How registration as legal heir will be approved?

Request will be sent to the e-Filing Admin for approval. The e-Filing Admin will check the authenticity of the required details and may Approve/Reject the request and Upon Approval/Rejection, an e-mail and SMS will be sent to the user who raised the request.

11. In how much time registration as legal heir will be approved?

​It is usually approved with 1-2 working days, but it may take longer time, so one need to get it done well before the due date of filing ITR/audit report/notice reply due date.

12. Should we open Income Tax E-filing Account of deceased for filing ITR or view Form 26AS/any other purpose?

Even if anyone have credentials of income tax e-filing account of deceased , but it should not be used for filing ITR, viewing Form 26AS , replying to notice received for deceased or any other purpose. The same can be done from e-filing account of legal heir, once registration as legal heir is approved.

14. Whether separate User ID & Password is allotted to Legal Heir?

No, Legal heir’s own e-filing account will be used for filing both ITRs i.e. own ITR of legal heir and another ITR of deceased person as representative. Once request for registration as legal heir is approved, both IDs will be inter-linked

15. Who will sign ITR after death of individual?

ITR will be signed/digitally signed by legal heir or can be e-verified through Aadhar OTP of legal heir.

16. Whether any specific details of legal heir is mentioned in ITR form as well?

Following table of ITR is required to be filled while preparing ITR form.

Following table of ITR is required to be filled while preparing ITR form

17. Which Incomes need to be included in ITR of deceased?

Income earned till the date of death will be included in ITR of deceased. Any income earned after the date of death from the assets inherited from the deceased is taxable in the hands of the legal heir. Legal heir should include this income inherited from the deceased in his own income while filing own income tax return.

18. What if person died intestate (die without a legal will) or there is dispute regarding legal heir?

In case person dies intestate or due to dispute regarding legal heir/asset distribution, then assets of deceased are not distributed to legal heirs/beneficiaries/nominees and incomes earning assets will form an Estate, which may require obtaining a fresh PAN in the name of estate and filing ITR of estate after completing the due process of registration in the e-filing portal by the executor/administrator as a representative of such estate.

19. What documents are required for obtaining PAN card of estate?

Following documents are required-

√ Death Certificate

√ Agreement of Estate

√ PAN & Aadhar of the representative (executor/administrator)

PAN will be allotted in the category of AOP.

20. What if legal heir/s don’t file ITR of deceased?

According to the section 159 of the Income Tax Act, 1961; Where a person dies, his legal representative shall be liable to pay any sum which the deceased would have been liable to pay if he had not died, in the like manner and to the same extent as the deceased. The legal representative of the deceased shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be an assessee.

Article Contributed by: 

CA Sagar Gambhir | FCA, DISA (ICAI), DIRM (ICAI) | [email protected]

Author can be reached at [email protected] for any queries, issues & recommendations relating to article.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and does not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc before acting on the basis of the above write up.  The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that Author / TaxGuru is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof. This is not any kind of advertisement or solicitation of work by a professional.

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    I have repeatedly been stating that biggest trouble is copy of PAN Card of deceased. I am yet to trace the PAN Card of my deceased wife. When the Department has her PAN Number, why ask for copy of PAN Card?
    Can some right thinking persons take up the issue with concerned bull headed officials of the Department?

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April 2021