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  • Deceased estate checklist

    Use this checklist to help you work out the steps to take to manage the Australian tax affairs of someone who has died.

    We receive information from government agencies about deaths, but it is a good idea to notify us:

    • if someone has died
    • 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 work out what you need to do and where to find more information:

    1. Does the deceased person have a will?
      • Yes – work out if a legal personal representative has been appointed (also known as the executor or trustee).
        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 always required to administer every deceased estate.
       
    2. Has probate or the letters of administration been issued to the executor or administrator?
      • 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. Formally notify us of the person's death online, or by completing the paper form Notification of a deceased person (NAT 74279) and identify the relevant parties acting on behalf of the deceased estate, such as the executor or administrator.

      Alternatively, if you are the executor or administrator and 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.
        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 we can send this to you upon request.
      • 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 complete the 'date of death'. Go to Step 5.
       
    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. Register the deceased estateExternal Link. Go to Step 7.
    7. Lodge the deceased estate tax returns.
      • Use the Trust tax return and the Trust tax return instructions for the relevant year. 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: 29 Apr 2021QC 49236