How to Register & File Income Tax Return as Legal Heir?

The income tax return filing season is back! As we all know that for individuals, due date for filing return is 31st July 2018 [for FY 2017-18]. Now when we say individual, it commonly means a living person but there is a twist to this as well.

The income tax act requires a person, who is not alive anymore, to file income tax return. You must be thinking how a dead person can file his return? The answer is Legal Heir. As per law, a legal heir is required to file income tax return on behalf of the deceased person.

There are different aspects when it comes to filing of ITR by legal heir. Like process for approval to act as legal heir, documents required etc. But before we get into all those technicalities, we need to first understand term Legal Heir.

  • Who is a Legal Heir?

As per law, legal heir is a person who inherits any asset/liability of the deceased. This definition is very subjective and the person who becomes a legal heir differs from case to case.

For e.g. there are 4 people in family of Mr A. Himself, his wife Mrs A and their 2 minor sons X & Y. Unfortunately, Mr A dies on 20/8/17 and his income for the year till 20/8/17 was ? 10,00,000. Now as per law, since he has wife and children, all of them will become his legal heir. As Mr As income exceeded basic exemption limit, Mrs A will have to file his ITR as legal heir because X & Y are still minor.

If Mr A would not have been married, then his parents would have become his legal heir. And if his parents werent alive, then in such case his brother/ sister (if any) will be his legal heir.

  • How to Register as a Legal Heir with Income Tax Department?

You cant just go to department and simply say that I am his/her legal heir. There is a proper procedure which has been laid out if you want to register as a legal heir. Follow the below given process:

Step 1: Visit Income Tax Efiling site. Log-in to your account by filing required details.

Step 2: Once you log-in, go to My Account tab. From the drop-down menu, select Add/Register as Representative.
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Step 3: Youll be taken to the relevant page. From there select option New Request under Request Type. After that you will have 2 options further to choose from.
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Step 4: Option Add another person to represent on your behalf means that you are want to make someone else your Legal Heir. Fill-in the relevant details and click on Submit button to proceed.
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Step 5: Option Register yourself on behalf of another person is for registering yourself as legal heir. Further, in Category to Register select option Legal Heir.
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Step 6: When you register yourself as a legal heir, certain information along with documents are required to be given. Make sure you fill-in everything correctly. After this, simply click on Submit button.
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  • Income Computation of Legal Heir & Deceased Person

The way to compute income of deceased person and of legal heir is a bit different. Let us discuss it below:

Income of deceased till date of death This part of income will be taxable in the hands of deceased person as if he/she is alive. The return will be filed by legal heir on his/her behalf.
Income after date of death

This income will become taxable in hands of legal heir.
In other words, legal heir should include this income in his total income and pay tax it.

The best way to understand this concept is through an example. Mr Ajay earns income from 2 sources, rent of ? 60,000 p.m. and interest income of ? 20,000 p.m. Due to some unfortunate event, he dies on 20th June 2017. Mr Ajays legal heir is his wife Mrs. Ajay. The income of rent and interest earned by Mr. Ajay shall be bifurcated in manner as follows:

START OF YEAR TILL DATE OF DEATH: ITR to be filed by Mrs Ajay on behalf of Mr Ajay.

Rental Income (1/4/17 to 20/6/17) ? 1,60,000
Interest Income (1/4/17 to 20/6/17) ? 53,333

AFTER DATE OF DEATH TILL YEAR END: Mr Ajays income will be included in Mrs Ajays total income.

Rental Income (21/617 to 31/3/18) ? 5,60,000
Interest Income (21/6/17 to 31/3/18) ? 1,86,667

Now ITR of Mr Ajay will include income of ? 2,13,333 (his income is less than basic exemption limit of ? 2,50,000, so in this case no ITR on his behalf has to be filed). ITR of Mrs Ajay will include ? 7,46,667 in addition to her own income (if any). We hope that you can now easily understand how income is computed in such cases.

  • What will happen, if you do not file ITR even when you are a Legal Heir?

Like weve said before, when you violate any provision of income tax, its same as inviting trouble for yourself. The department can start all proceeding against you which could have been initiated if deceased person was alive.
It is important to note that, your liability as legal heir cant exceed the value of asset which you inherited from the deceased. For e.g. say you have received ? 1,50,000 as legal heir. Then you cant be asked to pay any liability exceeding ? 1,50,000 on behalf of the deceased.

We hope that after reading the above discussion, you are aware of your responsibility as a legal heir. In case you face any issue, feel free to get in touch eCAs 24×7 for any assistance. Now you can also file your return online for free! Just visit us at Tax2Win. Happy Filing 🙂

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