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Video: What Is a Fiduciary Income Tax Return?

Updated for Tax Year 2019


OVERVIEW

Have you been appointed as trustee of a trust or the administrator of an estate? If so, you may be interested to hear about the tax returns you are responsible for filing. Watch this video to find out more about fiduciary income tax returns.


Video transcript:

Hello, I’m Tammy from TurboTax with some information about fiduciary income tax returns.

Have you been appointed as trustee of a trust or the administrator of an estate?

If so, you may be interested to hear about the tax returns you are responsible for filing. As a trustee or administrator, you are the fiduciary of the trust or estate. This means that you are the person responsible for overseeing the estate or trust—which includes filing all necessary tax returns. The IRS requires the filing of an income tax return for trusts and estates on Form 1041—formerly known as the fiduciary income tax return. This is because trusts and estates must pay income tax on their income just like you report your own income on a personal tax return each year. Trusts and estates can own the same type of property that you can.

For example, a trust may own a stock portfolio or rental real estate. And when the stocks pay dividends or tenants pay rent—the income belongs to the trust. But the IRS doesn’t allow a trust or estate to receive the income tax free. This is where the 1041 comes in—you need to report this rental and dividend income on the return.

However, trusts and estates can also take deductions to reduce their taxable income.

For example, if you authorize a payment for repairs to real estate in the trust—those costs are deductible on the 1041. One interesting feature of the 1041 is that you can deduct some or all of the payments you make to beneficiaries. Suppose the trust document requires that all dividends be paid to beneficiaries or provides you discretionary authority to do so. In this case, the beneficiaries will report the dividend income on their personal returns. You still report the dividend income on the 1041—but you also report a deduction for the beneficiary distributions in a later section of the return. One thing to remember as a fiduciary is that you are responsible for filing the 1041 on behalf of the trust or estate. Any taxes due are usually paid out of the trust or estate property.

If you’re filing a 1041 on behalf of an estate or trust, our TurboTax Business product will walk you through it, step by step.

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