My mother died in 2012, and we sold some of her property in 2018. For what year should I file a 1041?

by Paul S. Carpenter, CPA | Sep 20, 2018

My mother died in 2012. No one probated her will or filed any paperwork. I retired shortly after her death, and came back to New York state. In working out a settlement with the state over a personal family matter, I had to handle the probate of the will/estate and the associated paperwork. We sold the one piece of property in my mother’s estate to pay a judgment to the State of New York in 2018. In what year should I file the 1041 (and schedules)? At one point, I thought I should file 2012 forms late, but now I'm thinking maybe I should file 2018 to cover the sale of the property this year. The estate is already closed. 

Form 1041 for an estate must be filed in any year the estate has more than $600 in gross income.

If the estate had gross income in excess of $600 for any open year, a return should be filed.

Any income collected by the estate after your mother’s death could be considered income for 1041 purposes. This includes interest, dividends, capital gains, rents, royalties, and any other income she might have been collecting during her lifetime that continued after her death until the assets were distributed. There could also be offsetting expenses allowed as deductions after her death as well. 

1041 rules are complex. I suggest you consult with a professional regarding the specifics of your mother’s estate.

For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.

Answered by: Paul S. Carpenter, CPA, is president of Carpenter Capital Advisors in Johnstown, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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