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Only Estate Can Deduct Funeral Expenses

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Q  My father passed away this year. Can we deduct his funeral expenses on his 2008 return?

A  Not on his personal income tax return. However, funeral expenses may be deducted on a decedent’s federal estate tax return. Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, must be filed if a gross estate exceeds $2 million for a decedent dying in 2008. (This threshold increases to $3.5 million for 2009.) Otherwise, there is no tax benefit for funeral expenses.

Tip: Generally, a federal estate return must be filed within nine months of death, but the executor or other administrator may apply for a six-month extension. 

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