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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Does a tax return have to be filed for a deceased taxpayer?


A final return must be filed for a person who died during the calendar year if a return normally would be required. The administrator or executor if one is appointed or beneficiary must file a return. Please print or type 'deceased' and the date of death next to the taxpayer's name at the top of the return.

If you are a surviving spouse and no administrator or executor has been appointed, you may file a joint return if you did not remarry during the same year in which your spouse died. Write the words surviving spouse next to your name when you sign the return.

You may also file a joint return with an administrator or executor acting in behalf of the deceased taxpayer.

If you file a return and claim a refund that is owed to a deceased taxpayer, you are certifying under penalty of perjury that you are entitled to the refund as the deceased's surviving relative or sole beneficiary under the provisions of the California Probate Code or you are the legal representative of the deceased taxpayer's estate. If you are the legal representative then you must attach certified copies of the letters of administration or letters of testamentary. When filing the return you must also attach a copy of federal Form 1310, Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer, or a copy of the death certificate. You can order federal Form 1310 from the IRS Website at

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