You likely don’t need to be reminded about filing your federal income tax return on time. Indeed, the tax filing deadline date of April 15 (or the next business day if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday) is probably ingrained in your memory. However, if you’re the executor of the estate of a loved one, do you know the filing date of an estate tax return?
The due date for filing a federal estate tax return varies. Generally, you must file the return within nine months of the date of death. It’s up to you to ensure that this obligation is met.
What happens if you fail to file the return on time? The estate could be hit with interest and penalties on top of any federal estate tax that’s due.
Here’s a practical solution: File Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes. Doing so provides an automatic six-month filing extension with no questions asked by the IRS. With the extension, you should have sufficient time to address any outstanding issues and file the return on time.
But be aware that an extension to file isn’t an extension to pay tax. If you request a payment extension, the IRS has discretion for approval or refusal.