Apply for an Estate Tax ID (EIN) Number

IRS Tax ID (EIN) Application

Apply for an Estate Tax ID (EIN) Number

ESTATE OF DECEASED FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are Estates required to obtain a Tax ID (EIN) Number?

Yes, all estates are required to obtain a Tax ID number, also known as an “employer id number” or EIN if they generate more than $600 in annual gross revenue. Since an estate and the decedent are separate taxable entities, a tax ID is required to file IRS form 1041.

Am I required to file an estate tax return?

If the decedent is a U.S. citizen or resident and decedent’s death occurred in 2016, an estate tax return (Form 706) must be filed if the gross estate of the decedent, increased by the decedent’s adjusted taxable gifts and specific gift tax exemption, is valued at more than the filing threshold for the year of the decedent’s death. The filing threshold for 2019 is $11,400,000, for 2018 is $11,180,000, 2017 is $5,490,000, for 2016 is $5,450,000, for 2015 is $5,430,000, for 2014 is $5,340,000, for 2013 is $5,250,000, for 2012 is $5,120,000, and for 2011 is $5,000,000.

An estate tax return also must be filed if the estate elects to transfer any deceased spousal unused exclusion (DSUE) amount to a surviving spouse, regardless of the size of the gross estate or amount of adjusted taxable gifts. The election to transfer a DSUE amount to a surviving spouse is known as the portability election.

When is an estate required to file IRS Form 1041

When someone dies, their assets become property of their estate. Any income those assets generate is also part of the estate and may trigger the requirement to file an estate income tax return. Examples of assets that would generate income to the decedent’s estate include savings accounts, CDs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and rental property. IRS Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, is required if the estate generates more than $600 in annual gross income.

What is excluded from the Estate?

Generally, the Gross Estate does not include property owned solely by the decedent’s spouse or other individuals. Lifetime gifts that are complete (no powers or other control over the gifts are retained) are not included in the Gross Estate (but taxable gifts are used in the computation of the estate tax). Life estates given to the decedent by others in which the decedent has no further control or power at the date of death are not included.

What deductions are available to reduce the Estate Tax?

  1. Marital Deduction: One of the primary deductions for married decedents is the Marital Deduction. All property that is included in the gross estate and passes to the surviving spouse is eligible for the marital deduction. The property must pass “outright.” In some cases, certain life estates also qualify for the marital deduction.
  2. Charitable Deduction: If the decedent leaves property to a qualifying charity, it is deductible from the gross estate.
  3. Mortgages and Debt.
  4. Administration expenses of the estate.
  5. Losses during estate administration.

What is a Tax ID (EIN) Number?

An EIN Number (also called a Tax ID) stands for Employer Identification Number. Most people consider an EIN Number like a Social Security Number (SSN) for a business. The IRS requires most businesses to obtain an EIN in order to identify the business for tax purposes. Some advantages of getting your Tax ID / EIN Number include: the ability to open a business bank account or line of credit, to hire employees or to apply for certain business licenses.

Who needs a Tax ID (EIN)?

An EIN is required for many reasons for businesses, taxable entities and non-profit organizations. If any of the follow apply to your business or entity you will need an EIN:

  • Hiring Employees
  • Operate your business as a Corporation or Partnership
  • If you will file any of following tax returns: Employment, Excise or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • Have a Keogh Plan
  • If you’re involved with any of the following organizations/entities:
    • Trusts (except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts)
    • Estates
    • Real Estate mortgage investment conduits
    • Non-profit organizations
    • Farmers’ cooperatives
    • Plan Administrators

If I don’t need an EIN why should I get one?

Even if your business, organization or entity is not required to obtain an EIN, it is highly recommended that you obtain one when starting or forming your business/organization for many reasons:

  • Use your EIN instead of your SSN on business applications and licenses to protect your personal information
  • Many state and local permits require that you have an EIN
  • An EIN is required to open a business bank account
  • EINs help to establish business credit history
  • Minimize delays when you decide to hire employees

What is a Responsible Party?

Every EIN application requires that a person who is a principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner or trustor be designated as the primary point of contact and responsible for receiving correspondence from the IRS related to the entity. This person is called the “responsible party” by the IRS. This person controls, manages or directs the applicant entity and disposition of funds and assets. If there is more than one responsible party for the entity, please list the primary person that you would like the IRS to recognize as the responsible party.

Under the current revised version of the IRS EIN application, a responsible party is defined as:
“For entities with shares or interests traded on a public exchange, or which are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, “responsible party” is (a) the principal officer, if the business is a corporation, (b) a general partner, if a partnership, (c) the owner of an entity that is disregarded as separate from its owner (disregarded entities owned by a corporation enter the corporation’s name and EIN), or (d) a grantor, owner, or trustor if a trust.”

“For all other entities, “responsible party” is the person who has a level of control over, or entitlement to, the funds or assets in the entity that, as a practical matter, enables the individual, directly or indirectly, to control, manage or direct the entity and the disposition of its funds and assets. The ability to fund the entity or the entitlement to the property of the entity alone, however, without any corresponding authority to control, manage, or direct the entity (such as in the case of a minor child beneficiary), does not cause the individual to be a responsible party.”