If a taxpayer died before filing a return for current tax year, the taxpayer's spouse or personal representative may have to file and sign a return for that taxpayer. A personal representative can be an executor, administrator, or anyone who is in charge of the deceased taxpayer’s property.
If the deceased taxpayer did not have to file a return but had tax withheld, a return must be filed to get a refund.
The person who files the return should use the form the taxpayer would have used. The person who files the return should print the word "deceased" after the decedent's name. Also enter the date of death after the decedent's name.
If your spouse died during the tax year and you did not remarry in the tax year or if your spouse died in the current year before filing a return for the tax year (ex:died in 2020 prior to filing 2019), you may file a joint return. If your spouse died in the tax year, the joint return should show your spouse's income before death and your income for all of the tax year. If your spouse died in 2020, before filing the 2019 return, the joint return should show all of your income and all of your spouse's income for 2019. Print "Filing as surviving spouse" in the area where you sign the return. If someone else is the personal representative, he or she must also sign the return.