Collect the deceased’s tax refund

Settle the Estate

It's possible that the IRS may owe money to the deceased in the form of a tax refund. If so, the executor will need to collect the tax refund check for the deceased.

Contact the IRS to review the status of the deceased’s tax returns and any pending refunds. Any tax refunds should be deposited into the estate bank account.

In order to request a refund on behalf of a deceased taxpayer, complete and submit IRS Form 1310.

Helpful Tips


To request information from the IRS, you will need to submit the following information:

To request a copy of the deceased’s latest tax return, use IRS Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return . There is a $43 fee for copies of each return requested.

To change the deceased’s address to the Executor’s mailing address, so the executor can receive any correspondence from the IRS, IRS Form 8822, Change of Address.

For more information about filing taxes for a deceased person, read more on the IRS website.

Personal Considerations


Have you obtained an IRS Tax ID number for the estate?


The executor or administrator will need to use this identification number when filing tax returns for the deceased and the estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about obtaining an Estate tax identification number, review the section, “Obtain an Estate Tax ID.”

Review the other questions in this section to determine how and when to communicate with the IRS.


The executor or administrator will need to obtain a tax identification number for the estate to collect any tax refunds due, and to file the estate’s required tax returns.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about obtaining an Estate tax identification number, review the Task, “Obtain an Estate Tax ID.”


If you have obtained an IRS Tax ID number:

The executor or administrator will need to use this identification number when filing tax returns for the deceased and the estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about obtaining an Estate tax identification number, review the section, “Obtain an Estate Tax ID.”

Review the other questions in this section to determine how and when to communicate with the IRS.

If you have not obtained an IRA Tax ID number:

The executor or administrator will need to obtain a tax identification number for the estate to collect any tax refunds due, and to file the estate’s required tax returns.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about obtaining an Estate tax identification number, review the Task, “Obtain an Estate Tax ID.”


Have you filed IRS Form 56?


This will give the IRS authority to communicate with the executor or administrator regarding tax matters.

Review the other questions in this section to determine how to collect any tax refunds owed to the deceased.


The executor or administrator will need to complete and submit IRS Form 56.

IRS Form 56 notifies the IRS that an executor or administrator has assumed management of the deceased’s estate and they now have the authority to manage the tax returns of the deceased’s estate.

The form also tells the IRS where to mail tax notices going forward.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information, review the Task "File IRS Form 56."


If you have filed IRS Form 56:

This will give the IRS authority to communicate with the executor or administrator regarding tax matters.

Review the other questions in this section to determine how to collect any tax refunds owed to the deceased.

If you have not filed IRS Form 56:

The executor or administrator will need to complete and submit IRS Form 56.

IRS Form 56 notifies the IRS that an executor or administrator has assumed management of the deceased’s estate and they now have the authority to manage the tax returns of the deceased’s estate.

The form also tells the IRS where to mail tax notices going forward.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information, review the Task "File IRS Form 56."


Have you opened an estate bank account?


It will be needed for the executor or administrator to deposit any tax refunds owed to the estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about opening an Estate bank account, review the section, “Open an Estate Bank Account.”

Review the other questions in this section to determine how to collect any tax refunds owed to the deceased.


The executor or administrator will need to open an estate bank account in order to manage the finances of the estate during the legal probate process.

An estate bank account will also be necessary to deposit any tax refunds owed to the deceased.

Open an account in the name of the estate of the deceased (e.g. Estate of Jane A. Doe).

By law, this account can only be managed by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about opening an Estate bank account, review the Task, “Open an Estate Bank Account.”


If you have opened an estate bank account:

It will be needed for the executor or administrator to deposit any tax refunds owed to the estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about opening an Estate bank account, review the section, “Open an Estate Bank Account.”

Review the other questions in this section to determine how to collect any tax refunds owed to the deceased.

If you have not opened an estate bank account:

The executor or administrator will need to open an estate bank account in order to manage the finances of the estate during the legal probate process.

An estate bank account will also be necessary to deposit any tax refunds owed to the deceased.

Open an account in the name of the estate of the deceased (e.g. Estate of Jane A. Doe).

By law, this account can only be managed by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about opening an Estate bank account, review the Task, “Open an Estate Bank Account.”


Have you filed taxes on behalf of the estate?


The information included in the estate’s tax return will likely determine whether the deceased is owed a tax refund.

Review the deceased’s tax return, or speak with the estate’s accountant to determine if the deceased is owed a tax refund.


The executor or administrator will need to file final taxes on behalf of both the estate, and the deceased, individually.

Because the deceased and their estate are considered separate entities, both will have their own unique tax obligations.

Estate taxes owed include:

  • Estate income tax - for income earned by the Estate (e.g. selling property, interest on Estate bank account, rental income, business income). The Estate may owe both state and federal income taxes
  • State Estate tax - taxes on the total value of the deceased’s Estate, including property, real estate, and bank accounts. Not all states collect estate taxes, review the laws of the state where the deceased lived to determine if estate taxes are due, and the amount owed
  • Federal Estate tax - required for Estates valued at $11.58 million or greater (for single taxpayers)

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about the estate's tax obligations, review the Task, “Submit tax returns for the Estate.”

AutumnIcons_Providers.svgProviders While not required, it may be necessary to work with an estate accountant to determine which estate taxes are due and the amount owed. Find accountants near you at the links below.


If you have filed taxes on behalf of the estate:

The information included in the estate’s tax return will likely determine whether the deceased is owed a tax refund.

Review the deceased’s tax return, or speak with the estate’s accountant to determine if the deceased is owed a tax refund.

If you have not filed taxes on behalf of the estate:

The executor or administrator will need to file final taxes on behalf of both the estate, and the deceased, individually.

Because the deceased and their estate are considered separate entities, both will have their own unique tax obligations.

Estate taxes owed include:

  • Estate income tax - for income earned by the Estate (e.g. selling property, interest on Estate bank account, rental income, business income). The Estate may owe both state and federal income taxes
  • State Estate tax - taxes on the total value of the deceased’s Estate, including property, real estate, and bank accounts. Not all states collect estate taxes, review the laws of the state where the deceased lived to determine if estate taxes are due, and the amount owed
  • Federal Estate tax - required for Estates valued at $11.58 million or greater (for single taxpayers)

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about the estate's tax obligations, review the Task, “Submit tax returns for the Estate.”

AutumnIcons_Providers.svgProviders While not required, it may be necessary to work with an estate accountant to determine which estate taxes are due and the amount owed. Find accountants near you at the links below.

Actions to Take


Download IRS Form 1310 from the IRS


Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online

Providers to Contact


Certified Public Accounts Near You

An accountant is a professional who specializes in financial record keeping and reporting. They can help you manage tax returns for a deceased person and their estate.

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Probate Attorneys Near You

Probate attorneys help settle a deceased person’s estate. They can help collect any assets, wages, or benefits owed to the deceased.

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Settle the Estate