How to file ITR after Death of Taxpayer?

How to file Income Tax Return (ITR) after Death of Taxpayer?

If a person dies during the year and has earned some income during that year, it is necessary to file income tax returns even after his death. As per the Income Tax Act, income tax is to be paid, and an income tax return is to be filed for any person who has earned an income above the minimum amount, which is exempted from the levy of income tax.
However, there is one crucial question that arises:

Who will pay Income Tax and file Returns after the Death of a Person?

The answer to this question is mentioned in Section 159 of the Income Tax Act, which says that it is the responsibility of the legal heir of the deceased to file income tax returns and pay the income tax payable (if any) on behalf of the deceased.

For the purpose of Income Tax, the legal heir would himself be deemed to be the assessee, and all the provisions of the Income Tax Act would apply accordingly to the legal heir as they would have been applied to the deceased assessee.

The legal heir would first be required to register on the income tax website as the legal heir of the deceased, and then they can file the ITR on behalf of the deceased.

It is the responsibility of the legal heir to file the income tax return on behalf of the deceased and deposit the balance income tax payable (if any).

In case there is any notice issued to the deceased before his death, the proceedings of such notice can be continued against the legal heir from the date of the death of the deceased. The legal heir shall personally be liable to pay all taxes on behalf of the deceased. Any penalty/ interest or any other amount payable to the Income Tax Authorities shall also be paid by the deceased.

However, the amount payable to the Income Tax Authorities by the legal heir on behalf of the deceased shall not be more than the assets inherited by him. In other words, the legal heir is not responsible for paying the dues from his pocket.

Refund of Income Tax

If any Income Tax Refund is due, the refund would also be allowed in the same manner as the normal provisions of the Act. It is always better to receive the refund in a joint account where the deceased was a joint holder with any other person so that the amount can be easily used.

If there is no joint holder, the nominee appointed by the deceased can operate the account. Where there is no nominee, the heirs of the deceased person can operate the account.

Step 1: Log in to the Income Tax e-filing portal using the Legal Heir Credentials

Step 2: Go to my account > Add/Register as Representative

Step 3: Select the ‘Request Type’ as ‘New Request’ and Select the ‘Category to Register’ as ‘Deceased (Legal Heir)’ > Click ‘Proceed’.

Step 4: Enter the details of the deceased, i.e. PAN No., Date of Birth, Surname, Middle Name, First Name. Also, upload the required documents and click proceed.

All the following documents would also be required to be submitted at the time of registration of legal heir:-

  1. Copy of Death Certificate
  2. Copy of PAN Card of the deceased
  3. Self-attested PAN Card copy of the legal heir
  4. Legal Heir Certificate or Affidavit in the presence of a Notary public

For Legal Heir Certificate, any of the following documents can be submitted as proof of Legal Heir Certificate:-

  1. The legal heir certificate issued by the Court of Law
  2. Surviving Member Certificate issued by the Local Authority
  3. The family pension certificate issued by the State/ Central Govt
  4. Letter issued by the Banking or Financial Institution on their letterhead, with official seal and signature affixed stating that so and so holding PAN(s), was/were the nominee(s) of the deceased to the account/instrument(s) held in the name of the deceased with the institution and the same was not withdrawn till the death of the deceased

Earlier, an affidavit for Legal Heir Registration was also accepted, but now it is not accepted.

On submission of these documents, a request would be sent to the Income Tax Authorities, and after reviewing these documents – they will accept/ reject the application. An email is sent to the registered email id with the details of approval/ rejection.

Other Relevant Points

1. In case of the death of the Karta of the HUF, the HUF would continue to remain in existence, and the income so earned by the HUF would continue to be taxed in the hands of the HUF even after his death. The senior-most member of the HUF would become the Karta and would file the return after the death of the Karta.

2. There would be no other change in the computation of taxes or filing or ITR except from the ones mentioned above. The Return of the deceased would be required to be filed in the same format and at the same time as applicable to people who are alive.

3. Penalty proceedings can also be initiated against the legal heirs. However, the liability of the legal heir would be limited to the extent of the assets inherited by him from the deceased.

4. If there is only 1 legal heir, they can act as a legal representative for Income Tax.

5. If there is more than 1 legal heir, they should appoint any one of them as the legal heir to file the Income Tax Return. If they all want to be registered as legal heirs for income tax – they can jointly file the income tax return. They should file the return in the capacity of AOP (Association of Persons) or BOI (Body of Individuals).

For more information on this visit

Posted by Pooja

Team Taxaj


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