Publ 559 ⏬⏬


Publ 559, also known as “Taxation of Business Entities,” is a course offered at numerous educational institutions, focusing on the complex and ever-evolving field of business entity taxation. Through this course, students delve into the intricate tax regulations and principles governing partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and S corporations. With a comprehensive exploration of topics such as formation, operation, distributions, liquidations, and transactions involving these entities, Publ 559 equips aspiring tax professionals with the necessary expertise to navigate the intricate landscape of business taxation successfully.

IRS Publication 559: Understanding the Survivors, Executors, and Administrators Guide


IRS Publication 559 is a comprehensive guide provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. It focuses on understanding the roles and responsibilities of survivors, executors, and administrators in handling tax matters related to estates and trusts.

Who is it for?

This publication is primarily aimed at individuals who have been designated as survivors, executors, or administrators of a deceased person’s estate or trust. It provides them with detailed information on how to fulfill their tax obligations and navigate the complex process during this challenging time.

Key Topics Covered:

  • Filing Requirements: The guide explains when and how to file various tax returns, including Form 1040, Form 706, and Form 709.
  • Income Tax: It discusses the treatment of income received by an estate or trust, as well as any deductions and exemptions that may be applicable.
  • Estate Tax: Publication 559 provides an overview of estate tax laws, including important thresholds, deductions, and credits that may impact the taxable estate.
  • Gift Tax: The guide explains the concept of gift tax, its exemptions, and reporting requirements for gifts made during one’s lifetime.
  • Final Return: It outlines the steps to be taken to file the final income tax return for the deceased individual.
  • Distributing Assets: Publication 559 also covers the tax implications of distributing assets from an estate or trust to beneficiaries.

How to Access:

You can find IRS Publication 559 on the official IRS website ( under the “Forms and Publications” section. It is available for download in PDF format, free of charge.

IRS Publication 559 serves as a valuable resource for survivors, executors, and administrators, helping them navigate the complexities of estate and trust taxation. By understanding the information provided in this guide, individuals can ensure compliance with tax laws and fulfill their obligations effectively.

Estate and Gift Tax

The estate and gift tax is a form of taxation imposed on the transfer of property and assets during one’s lifetime or after their death. This tax applies to individuals who have accumulated a significant amount of wealth and wish to pass it on to their beneficiaries.

When an individual passes away, their estate, which includes all their assets, such as real estate, investments, and personal belongings, is subject to estate tax. The tax is based on the total value of the estate and is typically paid by the estate itself before any distribution to the heirs.

In addition to the estate tax, there is also a gift tax that applies to gifts made during one’s lifetime. If an individual gives a substantial amount of money or valuable assets to another person, they may be required to pay gift tax on the value of the gift. However, certain exemptions and exclusions exist for smaller gifts and specific types of transfers.

The estate and gift tax system aims to ensure that the transfer of wealth is subject to taxation, preventing the concentration of wealth in a few hands over multiple generations. It serves as a means of generating revenue for the government and promoting a fair distribution of assets.

It’s important to note that estate and gift tax laws can vary significantly between countries, and it’s crucial to consult with tax professionals or legal experts to understand the specific regulations and exemptions that apply in your jurisdiction.

Tax Information for Survivors, Executors, and Administrators

When it comes to managing taxes after the passing of a loved one, there are important considerations for survivors, executors, and administrators. Understanding the tax obligations in such situations is crucial for ensuring compliance with the law and minimizing potential financial burdens.


As a survivor, you may be responsible for handling the tax affairs of the deceased individual. One of the key steps is filing the final income tax return on behalf of the deceased. This return covers the period from the beginning of the tax year up to the date of their passing. You might also need to report any income earned by the deceased’s estate or trust.

Executors and Administrators:

If you’ve been appointed as an executor or administrator of the deceased individual’s estate, your responsibilities include managing their overall financial affairs, including taxes. As part of this role, you may need to obtain a taxpayer identification number for the estate or trust. Additionally, you’ll have to file an estate or trust income tax return, reporting any income generated during the administration period.

Key Tax Forms:

  • Form 1040: The final income tax return of the deceased individual, covering their income up to the date of death.
  • Form 1041: The estate or trust income tax return, filed if the estate generates income during the administration period.

Important Considerations:

  • Consulting with a tax professional can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific situation.
  • Keep detailed records of all financial transactions related to the estate or trust.
  • Understanding state-specific regulations and tax laws is crucial, as they may vary from federal guidelines.

Note: This information is intended as a general guide and should not replace professional advice. Please consult a qualified tax professional for personalized assistance.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax, also known as estate tax or death duty, is a type of tax imposed on the transfer of property or assets from a deceased person to their beneficiaries. It is based on the value of the inheritance received and is typically levied by the government.

The primary purpose of inheritance tax is to generate revenue for the government and ensure a fair distribution of wealth within society. It is designed to prevent large amounts of wealth from accumulating in the hands of a few individuals or families over generations.

Each country has its own rules and regulations regarding inheritance tax, and the tax rates and thresholds may vary significantly. Some countries have a progressive tax system where higher-value inheritances are subject to higher tax rates, while others may have a flat tax rate applied uniformly to all inheritance amounts.

In many cases, certain exemptions or reliefs may apply to reduce the inheritance tax burden. These exemptions can include allowances for spouses or civil partners, specific reliefs for charitable donations, or deductions for business-related assets.

It’s important to plan ahead for inheritance tax to minimize its impact on your estate. This can involve seeking professional advice, making use of available exemptions and reliefs, and considering strategies such as lifetime gifts or setting up trusts.

Overall, inheritance tax plays a significant role in shaping the transfer of wealth upon someone’s death and requires careful consideration to ensure effective tax planning and wealth preservation.

Gift Tax

Gift tax is a form of taxation imposed on the transfer of assets from one individual to another, where the transfer is made without receiving anything in return or for less than fair market value. The purpose of gift tax is to prevent individuals from avoiding estate taxes by giving away their assets before death.

In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulates gift tax. The donor (person giving the gift) is generally responsible for paying the tax, although there are certain exemptions and exclusions that determine whether a gift will be subject to taxation.

The annual exclusion is an important concept in gift taxation. It allows individuals to give a certain amount of money or property to another person each year without incurring any gift tax liability. As of 2021, the annual exclusion amount is $15,000 per recipient. For example, if you give $10,000 to your friend and $12,000 to your cousin in a single year, neither gift would be subject to gift tax because each is below the annual exclusion threshold.

Gift tax returns may need to be filed if the total value of gifts given to any one person exceeds the annual exclusion amount. However, gift tax is typically not owed unless the cumulative lifetime gifts exceed the lifetime exemption limit set by the IRS. As of 2021, the lifetime exemption is $11.7 million per individual.

It’s important to consult with a qualified tax professional or financial advisor to understand the specific rules and implications related to gift tax in your jurisdiction, as they can vary depending on the country or state in which you reside.

Estate Tax

An estate tax, also known as an inheritance tax or death duty, is a tax imposed on the transfer of property upon the death of an individual. It applies to the total value of the deceased person’s estate, including assets such as real estate, investments, cash, and personal belongings.

Estate taxes are typically levied by the government at the federal or state level, and the rates and exemptions can vary depending on the jurisdiction. The purpose of estate taxes is to generate revenue for the government and redistribute wealth by taxing the transfer of substantial assets from one generation to another.

In many countries, estate taxes are progressive, meaning that higher-value estates are subject to higher tax rates. Certain exemptions and deductions may be available to reduce the taxable amount, such as allowances for spouses, charitable donations, or specific types of assets like family-owned businesses or farms.

It’s important for individuals with significant assets to engage in estate planning to minimize the impact of estate taxes on their heirs. This can involve measures such as setting up trusts, gifting assets during one’s lifetime, or utilizing other legal strategies to transfer wealth more efficiently.

  • Estate taxes are imposed on the transfer of property upon an individual’s death.
  • They apply to the total value of the deceased person’s estate.
  • They are intended to generate revenue and redistribute wealth.
  • Tax rates and exemptions vary by jurisdiction.
  • Estate planning can help mitigate the impact of estate taxes.

Overall, estate taxes play a role in shaping wealth distribution and can have significant implications for individuals and their beneficiaries when managing and transferring assets after death.

Tax on Deceased Person’s Income

Tax on deceased person’s income refers to the taxation of income earned by an individual who has passed away. When a person dies, their assets and financial affairs may continue generating income, which is subject to certain tax rules and regulations.

In general, the tax obligations of a deceased person’s income depend on various factors, including the jurisdiction in which they resided and the nature of the income generated. The taxation process typically involves the following key considerations:

  • Estate Tax: In some countries, an estate tax or inheritance tax may be imposed on the value of assets transferred upon the death of an individual. This tax is usually levied on the estate itself rather than the income generated by it.
  • Final Income Tax Return: A final income tax return is often required to report the deceased person’s income earned up until the date of death. This includes income from employment, investments, business activities, and other sources.
  • Income Earned by the Estate: If the deceased person’s assets continue to generate income after their passing, such as rental income or interest from investments, this income is usually taxable and must be reported on the estate’s tax return.
  • Distribution of Assets: When the deceased person’s assets are distributed to beneficiaries or heirs, tax implications may arise for both the estate and the recipients. These could include capital gains tax or income tax on any income generated by the distributed assets.

It is important to note that tax laws and regulations surrounding the taxation of a deceased person’s income vary across jurisdictions. Seeking advice from a qualified tax professional or estate planner is advisable to ensure compliance with applicable tax rules and to optimize tax efficiency.

Note: The information provided here is a general overview and should not be considered as legal or financial advice. Specific circumstances may require consulting with professionals knowledgeable in tax and estate matters.

Final Return for Decedent

A final return for a decedent refers to the last income tax return that must be filed on behalf of an individual who has passed away. When a person dies, their tax responsibilities do not end with their death. Instead, their estate or their personal representative is responsible for ensuring that all outstanding tax obligations are fulfilled.

The final return for a decedent is typically prepared and filed using Form 1040, the standard individual tax return form used in the United States. The personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate is responsible for gathering all necessary financial information, including income, deductions, and credits, relevant to the deceased individual’s final tax year.

The final return covers the period from the beginning of the tax year up to the date of the decedent’s death. It includes any income earned by the decedent during that time, such as wages, self-employment income, rental income, interest, dividends, and retirement distributions. Additionally, it takes into account any applicable deductions and credits that the decedent may be eligible for.

It is important to note that filing a final return for a decedent may have different requirements and considerations compared to a regular individual tax return. Certain tax benefits and deductions may no longer be available, and specific rules apply to claiming certain tax credits or losses. Additionally, the filing deadline for a final return may differ from the standard April 15th deadline.

Once the final return is prepared, it should be clearly marked as the decedent’s final return by writing “DECEASED,” the decedent’s name, and the date of death across the top of the form. The return should be signed by the personal representative or executor on behalf of the deceased individual.

Overall, the final return for a decedent is an important step in closing the deceased individual’s tax affairs and fulfilling their tax obligations. It ensures that any remaining tax liabilities or refunds are properly accounted for and helps bring closure to the person’s financial matters.

Qualified Funeral Trusts

A Qualified Funeral Trust (QFT) is a financial arrangement designed to help individuals and families plan for the costs associated with funeral and burial expenses. It is an irrevocable trust that allows individuals to set aside funds specifically for covering their funeral costs, ensuring that these expenses are taken care of when the time comes.

One of the main benefits of a QFT is that it can help individuals qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid is a government program that provides healthcare coverage for low-income individuals, including coverage for long-term care services. However, Medicaid has strict asset limits, and any funds held outside of a QFT may count towards those limits, potentially disqualifying individuals from receiving Medicaid benefits.

By placing funds in a QFT, individuals can protect those funds from being counted as assets for Medicaid eligibility purposes. The funds held within the trust can only be used for funeral and burial expenses, providing a clear purpose for the funds while ensuring they do not affect Medicaid eligibility. This allows individuals to receive Medicaid benefits for their healthcare needs while still having a designated source of funds for their funeral costs.

It’s important to note that each state may have specific rules and regulations regarding QFTs, including maximum fund amounts and eligible expenses. Consulting with an elder law attorney or a financial advisor who specializes in Medicaid planning can help ensure compliance with these rules and maximize the benefits of a QFT.

Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

The Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (GSTT) is a tax imposed by the United States federal government on certain transfers of wealth that “skip” a generation. It is designed to prevent individuals from avoiding estate taxes by transferring assets directly to their grandchildren or more remote descendants, instead of passing them down to their children.

The GSTT was established to ensure that multiple generations of wealth are properly taxed as they pass from one generation to another. It applies to transfers made during life or upon death, and it is in addition to any gift or estate taxes that may be applicable. The GSTT is levied at a flat rate, which is set at the maximum federal estate tax rate in effect at the time of the transfer.

To calculate the GSTT, various factors are taken into consideration, including the value of the transferred assets, the relationship between the transferor and the transferee, and the exemption amount available to the transferor. Certain transfers are exempt from the tax, such as those made to a spouse or a charity. Additionally, there is a lifetime exemption amount that allows individuals to transfer a certain value of assets without incurring the GSTT.

The purpose of the GSTT goes beyond revenue generation. It aims to promote fairness in the taxation of intergenerational wealth transfers and prevent the concentration of wealth within a single generation. By taxing transfers that skip a generation, the government seeks to maintain a more equitable distribution of wealth among different branches of a family tree.

It’s important to consult with a qualified tax professional or attorney to fully understand the implications and requirements of the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, as it can be complex and subject to change based on legislative updates or reforms.

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