Implications of Discovering Unreported Income, Improper Deductions, and Hidden Assets Upon a Taxpayer's Death
42 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 1, 2010
Death commonly opens windows into taxpayers' lives and sheds light on items that were previously kept hidden or tightly guarded. This light sometimes reveals that the decedent failed to report income, took improper deductions, or held undisclosed assets -- factors that have historically contributed to the size of the "tax gap" -- the difference between what taxpayers owe in taxes and what they actually pay. This Article explores the implications of these postmortem discoveries for executors, who must administer the decedent's estate; estate beneficiaries, who are recipients of the estate's asset; and tax practitioners, who are called upon to lend technical assistance. Beyond describing the current state of affairs, this Article makes several policy recommendations designed to help close the tax gap and simplify this complex area of the law.
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation