Billy Thomas, CPA

As an executor/personal representative, you are responsible for carrying out the terms of the decedent’s will or Trust, which includes ensuring all debts are paid and each beneficiary receives his or her designated property from the estate. The estate administration process may include estate tax filings with the IRS and state jurisdictions, probate court filings, in addition to the funeral proceedings and wrapping up any outstanding personal matters of the decedent. Often times this is not a quick process despite adequate and appropriate estate planning.

When an estate is subject to tax at the federal or state level, a return is required nine (9) months (in most cases) following the date of death. Historically, the IRS would issue an estate tax closing letter upon completed review of the estate tax return. This closing letter would take an additional four to six months of processing time by the IRS to confirm the estate tax filing is accepted. Also, this estate tax closing letter is a final piece needed to close an estate with the probate court in some jurisdictions. The estate administration period can take longer than one year before the beneficiaries receive the residual estate property. If you are the one inheriting property from an estate, time ticks away ever so slowly.

Beginning June 1, 2015, the IRS will no longer issue these estate tax closing letters unless requested by the executor/personal representative. The IRS recommends waiting at least four months after filing the return (including extensions) to request the closing letter. For all requests, you should call (866)-699-4083.

For federal estate tax returns filed prior to June 1, 2015, estate tax closing letters will be issued unless the only reason for filing the estate tax return was to elect portability. In which case, you may wish to contact the IRS to request an estate tax closing letter.

At this time, most state tax jurisdictions have not adopted this new procedure from the IRS and it is believed estate tax closing letters will still be issued when state estate tax returns are filed and accepted.

Going forward, you will want to be sure you proactively request this closing letter and begin the process to

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