The IRS recently announced changes to its estate tax, and related gift tax, return retention period. Due to the volume of these documents, storage costs, and the rarity of requests for these paper returns, the IRS is reducing the retention period from 75 years to 40 years. The IRS also announced it will destroy estate tax and related gift tax returns that are older than 40 years.
Because of these changes, taxpayers may want to request older estate returns—including attachments—before these documents are destroyed. Related attachments may include appraisals, gift tax returns and other required documents. The deadline to request returns older than 40 years is Feb. 11, 2022.
To request an older estate tax return, a taxpayer must have authorization to receive tax information of a decedent or their estate. Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return should be used to request an estate tax return. There is also a fee for each return requested.
In addition, taxpayers should submit the following with any request:
- The decedent’s complete name, address and Social Security Number
- A copy of the death certificate, and either:
- A copy of Letters Testamentary approved by the court
- Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship, if there is no court proceeding.
Brad Roe leads the Private Wealth Services practice in the Houston office. Roe has more than 28 years of professional experience working with high net worth individuals and families, closely held businesses, trusts and estates.
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