Responsibility and Due Date for Filing the Federal Estate Tax Return

The responsibility for filing Form 706, the U.S. Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return, falls upon the executor/administrator who is typically named in the will (or a court-appointed executor if there is no will). The return must be filed within nine months after the person's death. The filing date can be extended for six months on filing an extension. Penalties are imposed for late filing and late payment unless there is reasonable cause. Interest is also imposed for late payments.

The executor must file a 706 Form when the estate's gross assets, not net assets, exceed the tax-exempt level, even if the deductions and unified credit make it a return with no tax due.

The 31-page return breaks down your assets into nineteen sections:

--Schedule A--Real Estate

--Schedule A-1--Section 2032A Valuation

--Schedule B--Stocks and Bonds

--Schedule C--Mortgages, Notes, and Cash

--Schedule D--Insurance on the Decedent's Life

--Schedule E--Jointly Owned Property

--Schedule F--Other Miscellaneous Property

--Schedule G--Transfers During the Deceased's Life

--Schedule H--Powers of Appointment

--Schedule I--Annuities

--Schedule J--Funeral Expenses and Expenses Incurred in Administering Property Subject to Claims

--Schedule K--Debts of the Decedent, and Mortgages and Liens

--Schedule L--Net Losses During Administration

--Schedule M--Bequests, etc., to Surviving Spouse

--Schedule O--Charitable, Public, and Similar Gifts and Bequests

--Schedule P--Credit for Foreign Death Taxes

--Schedule Q--Credit for Tax on Prior Transfers

--Schedule R--Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

--Schedule R-1 Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (Direct Skips from a Trust Payment Voucher)

--Schedule U--Qualified Conservation Easement Exclusion

--Schedule PC--Protective Claim for Refund

There are also various attachments that must be filed with Form 706, such as the will, real estate appraisals, trust documents, etc.