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Income Tax Liabilities of Legal Heirs of deceased.

Section 159 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 contains provisions regarding Legal representatives. The legal representative of the deceased has to file the income tax return for the income of the deceased.  The income earned in the year of death is classified in two categories:

·         Income earned from April 1 till the date of death

·         Income earned thereafter till the end of the financial year.

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.  The legal representatives will have to file returns in the deceased’s name for income earned till the date of death. Subsequent earnings are to be taxed in the hands of the legal representative/executor of the deceased’s estate. Process of tax calculation, filing returns remains the same.

If the karta of an Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) dies then as HUF is not a living entity so death of the Karta does not lead to any change in taxation. The HUF continues to be taxed as before and the senior most male co-parcener in the HUF becomes the Karta.

Who is Legal Heirs or Legal Representatives:

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.

If there are many heirs, one of the heirs cannot assume himself as legal heir unless declared so legally to file the return on behalf of the dead person. One needs to obtain a Legal Certificate Following documents are accepted as Legal Heir certificate.

1. The legal heir certificate issued by court of law

2. The legal heir certificate issued by the Local revenue authorities.

3. The certificate of surviving family members issued by the local revenue authorities

4. The registered will

5. The Family pension certificate issued by the State/Central government.

How to Register as a Legal Heir at income Tax efiling Website

From IncomeTax Website

User should register as a Legal Heir to do e-Filing on behalf of the deceased. Deceased person’s PAN and Legal Heir’s PAN should be registered in the e-Filing portal. If Deceased person PAN is not registered in the portal then the Legal Heir cannot register on behalf of the deceased person.

Following are the steps for registration of 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. Note: The zip file attachment should not exceed 1Mb.

        1. Copy of the Death Certificate

        2. Copy of PAN card of the deceased

        3. Self-attested PAN card copy and

        4. Legal Heir certificate (The documents that are accepted as legal heir certificate are as mentioned above)

        5. Affidavit in presence of a Notary Public.

Step 3 Click Submit.

Step 4 The request will be sent to the e-Filing Administrator.

Step 5 The e-Filing Administrator will review/verify the request and approve/ not approve as applicable e-Filing Administrator may approve as Temporary Legal Heir or Permanent Legal Heir, based on the documents uploaded. An e-mail is sent to the registered e-mail ID.

On e-Filing administrator’s approval, the ITR Form of the deceased person can be uploaded via Legal Heir login.The Legal Heir should add his/her PAN in the verification part of the ITR Form, validate and generate the xml of the return and upload the return of the deceased using the Legal Heir login.

A person is treated as a Temporary Legal Heir when the person fails to submit any one of the five Legal Heir certificates as mentioned above. The Temporary Legal Heir is allowed only to upload ITR/Forms and will not be able to access all other services, which includes add CA to submit audit forms (other than ITR) on behalf of the deceased.

A person is treated as a Permanent Legal Heir whwhen the person submits any one of the five Legal Heir certificates mentioned as above. The Permanent Legal Heir may file Income Tax Returns/Forms, view Status of Income Tax Return/Forms, ITR-V Acknowledgment and other filing status of e-Filed Returns/Forms in respect of the deceased.

One can also view the status of the request under My Request List menu, post Login.




How to claim Refund of deceased person

Where there is any refund in case of a deceased assessee, the refund can be received by the legal heir just like he/she can sign the Return of Income. Refund cheque can be encashed in any bank account where the deceased holder was a joint account holder with any other person. If there is no such joint account, the nominee appointed by the deceased assessee can operate the account. Where there is no nominee, the heirs of the deceased person are required to submit various documents as evidence such as Death Certificate, Succession Certificate from court, etc. as per the procedure of different banks. From FY 203-14 (AY 2014-15) i.e returns filed by 31 Jul 2014 Refund will be credited directly into the account, no cheque will be issued.


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