In accordance with the Sec. 159 of the Income Tax Law, if an assessee unfortunately dies before filing the income tax return of any year in which a filing requirement exists, it becomes the liability of the spouse/legal representative/executor to file the income tax return and pay-off any remaining tax dues of the deceased assessee. A deceased person is entitled to all the deductions and exemptions for the entire year, but tax is levied only on the income earned till his/her death. However, the return of the deceased would include income till the date of death of assessee, hereafter the income would be taxable in the hands of the legal heir and included in his return of income. On the death of the assessee, the income from his/her assets and the tax liability is transferred to his/her legal heirs. So the filing of tax returns becomes the responsibility of the Legal Heir (LH). This means the legal heir can file the tax returns on behalf of the deceased assessee.
Legal representative of the deceased Usually, spouse or close relative of the deceased takes charge as the legal representative. Else, in case of will of the taxpayer who has passed away, the executor is held responsible. Certificate of legal heir ship can be obtained from the Tehsildar of the representative’s jurisdiction by submitting application in the prescribed form along with supporting documents. After basic verification by the office certificate can be obtained. This is the most informal way of doing this; this certificate has limited value otherwise. Capacity to which the legal representative or heir is liable to pay-off tax liabilities of the deceased As assets/liabilities of the deceased get transferred to the legal heir, technically he/she becomes the assessee for the income tax of the deceased. Accordingly, the legal heir needs to compulsorily file the return and pay-off tax dues of the assessee who has passed away. However, capacity of the legal heir to clear any pending tax dues is limited to the extent of the financial value of assets of the deceased that are held by him or her. Registration as a Legal Heir For filing of income tax return on behalf of the assessee who has passed away, legal heir or representative needs to first obtain approval from the tax authorities. After getting approval from the tax department one can easily start up the procedure for e-filing. For this, the representative should first have to register as the legal heir.
How to register as a Legal Heir
Step 1 - LOGIN to e-Filing application and go to 'My Account' --> Register as Legal Heir. Step 2 - Provide the necessary details and attach a zip file containing the below documents
1. Copy of the Death Certificate
2. Copy of PAN card of the deceased
3. Self attested PAN card copy of the Legal Heir, and
4. Legal Heir certificate.
Step 3 - Click Submit.
Step 4 - The request will be sent to the e-Filing Administrator.