• Deceased estate checklist

    This checklist will help you manage the Australian tax affairs of someone who has died.

    If the deceased person's tax affairs included carrying on a business, you may need to seek further advice from a legal practitioner and/or registered tax agent.

    Follow these steps to understand what you need to do when someone has died:

    Step 1. Did the person have a will?

    • Yes Determine who is the executor. Go to Step 2.
    • No – Have you or someone else applied for letters of administration? If yes, go to Step 2. If no, consider contacting the public trustee in your state or territory to determine if they will act on behalf of the deceased person. If so, they will take any action required.

    Step 2. Has probate been obtained by the executor or has the court granted letters of administration?

    • Yes – Go to Step 3
    • No – You may need to provide further information if you wish to establish authority to deal with the tax affairs of the deceased person. Go to Step 3.

    Step 3. Notify us of the person's death

    You can notify us of the person's death online, or by completing the paper form Notification of a deceased person (NAT 74279) and submitting this by mail or in person at an ATO shopfront.

    By doing this, you will have:

    • officially notified us of the person’s death
    • made us aware of relevant parties acting on behalf of the deceased estate, such as the executor or administrator.

    If you notify us online, you will need to attend an Australia Post outlet for an interview and present a copy of the death certificate and supporting documents. Otherwise, you will need to present the supporting documents to us at an ATO shopfront or send us certified copies by mail.

    Alternatively, if you are the executor or administrator and you have appointed a legal practitioner to act on your behalf, they can provide us with all this information. (You are not required to formally notify us of their appointment however, we may contact you to verify this detail.)

    We will also attempt to match individual records to Births, Deaths and Marriages data.

    Go to Step 4.

    Step 4. Do you need to lodge a final individual tax return?

    Refer to Tax return for a deceased person for when you need to lodge a tax return.

    You should also check for outstanding income tax returns for previous years.

    • Yes, a final return needs to be lodged – The final return should cover the period from 1 July of the income year in which the person died up to the date of death. Go to Step 5.
    • No, a final return does not need to be lodged – Complete a Non-lodgment advice for the year and send this to us. On the form, where it asks for ‘Reason for not lodging a tax return’ write ‘DECEASED’ and the date of death. Go to Step 5.

    Step 5. Do you need to lodge a tax return for the deceased estate?

    Refer to Trust return for a deceased estate for details of when you need to lodge.

    • Yes, a final return needs to be lodged – Go to Step 6.
    • No, a final return does not need to be lodged – If all of the above has been completed, no further information is required by the ATO.

    Step 6. Obtain a tax file number (TFN) for the deceased estate

    Complete and submit a TFN application for a deceased estate (NAT 3236). This is required as a deceased estate is treated as a trust for tax purposes. Go to Step 7.

    Step 7. Lodge the deceased estate tax return(s)

    Use the Trust tax return and the accompanying Trust tax return instructions. Special instructions for trustees of deceased estates are in the appendices of the instructions.

    You may need to lodge a tax return each financial year until the deceased estate has been fully administered and is no longer earning income. See Doing trust tax returns for a deceased estate for guidance on whether a tax return is required.

    See also:

    Last modified: 01 Mar 2017QC 49236