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My husband passed away (we have been separated for years) How can I get a copy of his last tax returns?

Walnut Creek, CA |

Hello I have been married for over 20 years to a man who owned a business. He died in late Dec. 2012. I would like to possibly file for survivors benefits. I have our Marriage certificate & his Death certificate but need to get a copy of his last tax return. Can someone please tell me how to go about getting a copy of his tax return. I have not contact with any of his family so not sure how to go about getting any legal documents regarding taxes?

I would like to add that on the death certificate it states that my husband is divorced. He was married prior to our marriage but we are still legally married.

Attorney Answers 3


Who provided the information for the death certificate? You will want to have that changed? Contact whoever prepared the death certificate.

Did you husband leave a Will? If not, you have priority to serve as his administrator. If the Tax returns were filed married filing separately, you need to be appointed as his administrator to have the right to get his tax records.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.

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If he filed as Married Filing Separately you cannot get a copy unless you are the executor of the estate. This is private financial information.

H. Daniel Lively, Esq., LL.M., CPA Certified Tax Specialist, CA Board of Legal Specialization 714-708-2593 Mr. Lively is a Certified Tax Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He can be reached at 714-708-2593 or individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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If you are appointed as a personal representative by a probate court, you can request a transcript of his tax return using a form 4506-T

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