Form 1041 - Filing Requirements

COVID-19 Update:

The IRS and the U.S. Treasury department have extended the federal filing and tax payment deadlines to July 15, 2020.

For more information:

Below is information from the IRS regarding the filing requirements for Federal Form 1041 U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts along with an explanation of the purpose of the form and when to file the form.

Per the IRS Instructions for Form 1041, page 4:

Who Must File

Decedent's Estate

The fiduciary (or one of the joint fiduciaries) must file Form 1041 for a domestic estate that has:

  1. Gross income for the tax year of $600 or more, or
  2. A beneficiary who is a nonresident alien.
An estate is a domestic estate if it isn't a foreign estate. A foreign estate is one the income of which is from sources outside the United States that isn't effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business and isn't includible in gross income. If you are the fiduciary of a foreign estate, file Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, instead of Form 1041.

The fiduciary (or one of the joint fiduciaries) must file Form 1041 for a domestic trust taxable under section 641 that has:
  1. Any taxable income for the tax year,
  2. Gross income of $600 or more (regardless of taxable income), or
  3. A beneficiary who is a nonresident alien.
Two or more trusts are treated as one trust if the trusts have substantially the same grantor(s) and substantially the same primary beneficiary(ies) and a principal purpose of such trusts is avoidance of tax. This provision applies only to that portion of the trust that is attributable to contributions to corpus made after March 1, 1984.

A trust is a domestic trust if:
  • A U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of the trust (court test), and
  • One or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust (control test).
See Regulations section 301.7701-7 for more information on the court and control tests.

Also treated as a domestic trust is a trust (other than a trust treated as wholly owned by the grantor) that:
  • Was in existence on August 20, 1996,
  • Was treated as a domestic trust on August 19, 1996, and
  • Elected to continue to be treated as a domestic trust.
A trust that isn't a domestic trust is treated as a foreign trust. If you are the trustee of a foreign trust, file Form 1040NR instead of Form 1041. Also, a foreign trust with a U.S. owner generally must file Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner.

If a domestic trust becomes a foreign trust, it is treated under section 684 as having transferred all of its assets to a foreign trust, except to the extent a grantor or another person is treated as the owner of the trust when the trust becomes a foreign trust.

Grantor Type Trusts
If all or any portion of a trust is a grantor type trust, then that trust or portion of a trust must follow the special reporting requirements discussed later, under Special Reporting Instructions. See Grantor Type Trust under Specific Instructions for more details on what makes a trust a grantor type trust.

Note. A trust may be part grantor trust and part "other" type of trust, for example, simple or complex, or electing small business trust (ESBT).

Additional Information:

Per the IRS Instructions for Form 1041 U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, page 3:

General Instructions

Purpose of Form

The fiduciary of a domestic decedent's estate, trust, or bankruptcy estate uses Form 1041 to report:
  • The income, deductions, gains, losses, etc. of the estate or trust;
  • The income that is either accumulated or held for future distribution or distributed currently to the beneficiaries;
  • Any income tax liability of the estate or trust;
  • Employment taxes on wages paid to household employees; and
  • Net Investment Income Tax. See Schedule G, line 4, and the Instructions for Form 8960.

Per the IRS Instructions for Form 1041, page 8:

When To File
For calendar year estates and trusts, file Form 1041 and Schedule(s) K-1 by April 15, 2019.

For fiscal year estates and trusts, file Form 1041 by the 15th day of the 4th month following the close of the tax year. For example, an estate that has a tax year that ends on June 30, 2019, must file Form 1041 by October 15, 2019. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, file on the next business day.

Extension of Time To File
If more time is needed to file the estate or trust return, use Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns, to apply for an automatic 5 and 1/2-month extension of time to file.

To complete Form 7004 to file an extension for the 1041 Estate or Trust return in the TaxAct program:
  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Filing. On smaller devices, click the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner, then select Filing.
  2. Click the File Extension option on the screen
  3. The program will proceed with the interview questions for you to enter or review the appropriate information