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  • Deceased estate checklist

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

    We receive monthly notifications from Births, Deaths and Marriages, so you only need to notify us if you feel you need to or if you want to tell us of the appointment of the executor or administrator.

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

    Steps to follow

    Follow these steps to understand what you need to do:

    1. Does the person have a will?
      • Yes – determine who the executor is. Go to Step 2.
      • No – decide whether to apply to the Federal Court in your State or Territory for letters of administration. This is not required to administer every deceased estate.
    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 to establish your authority to deal with the tax affairs of the deceased person. There are legal restrictions that may prevent us from transferring the deceased person’s credits or disclosing information. Go to Step 3.
    3. Notify us of the person's death.
      • Notify us of the person's death online, or by completing the paper form Notification of a deceased person (NAT 74279) and mailing it to the address on the form.
      • 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 send us certified copies of these documents by mail.
      • By doing the above you will have
        • formally 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.
      • 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 this information. You don't need to formally notify us of their appointment but we may contact you to verify this detail. Go to Step 4.
    4. Do you need to lodge a final individual tax return? (Refer to Doing tax returns for a deceased person for when you need to lodge a tax return).
      • Yes – 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 – 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.
      • Note: We have developed a deceased estate data package for executors and administrators that contains an extract of tax, income and superannuation information for the deceased person. This may help you with finalising the estate and can be sent to you upon request.
    5. Do you need to lodge a tax return for the deceased estate? (Refer to Doing trust tax returns for a deceased estate for details of when you need to lodge).
      • Yes – go to Step 6.
      • No – if all of the above has been completed, no further information is required by us.
    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.
    7. Lodge the deceased estate tax returns.
      • Use the Trust tax return and the 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: 12 Dec 2019QC 49236