Section 6075(a) provides that the estate tax return "shall be filed within 9 months after the date of the decedent's death."
Reg. section 20.6075-1 provides that the estate tax return is due 9 months after the date of death and the day in the ninth month must “numerically correspond” to the date of death.
Return Due Date Example 1: Date of death is Apr-12-2008. The return due date is Jan-12-2009.
Absence of a Numerically Corresponding Day in the Ninth Month
Reg. section 20.6075-1 also provides that “if there is no numerically corresponding day in the ninth month, the last day of the ninth month is the due date.”
Return Due Date Example 2: Date of death is May 31, 2007. The return due date is February 29, 2008, which is a leap year.
Section 6166 interest payment (and annual installment) due dates would fall on February 28 in non-leap years and on February 29 in leap years. If the estate elected a month other than February for payment of the first installment, then the annual installments would be due on the 30th or 31st of such other month, as the case may be. Notwithstanding an estate's election for payment of the first installment in such other month, however, interest payments for the first 4 years after the return due date would remain due on February 28 in non-leap years or February 29 in leap years.
What Happens When the Return Due Date Falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Legal Holiday
Code section 7503 provides:
When the last day prescribed under authority of the internal revenue laws for performing any act falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, the performance of such act shall be considered timely if it is performed on the next succeeding day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday [emphasis added]. For purposes of this section, the last day for the performance of any act shall be determined by including any authorized extension of time.
NOTE: Section 7503 does not change the statutory due date. It merely provides that the performance of the act required on the due date will be considered timely when performed on the next business day.
Reg. section 20.6075-1 provides:
When the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, the due date for filing the return is the next succeeding day that is not Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday. [Emphasis added.]
There is a fine distinction between the estate tax return due date and the estate tax return filing due date. The distinction between the return due date and the return filing due date relates to the timeliness of filing. It does not relate to the beginning date for computing interest.
Section 6151(a) and Reg section 20.6151-1(a) provide that the date fixed for payment of estate tax is the date fixed for filing the estate tax return, determined without regard to any extension of time for filing the return [emphasis added].
If the original return is filed on the first business day after a due date that falls on a weekend, the Service will not bill the estate for interest for that period unless other factors intervene; e.g., the tax shown due on the return is not paid on the return filing due date, or a deficiency is assessed. When a deficiency or interest on underpaid tax is assessed, interest begins accruing from the return due date even if it falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. Section 6601; Rev. Rul 74-235, 1974-1 CB 347; FSA 200021010. Also see example 1 under Reg. section 301.6601-1(b)(2), where interest on unpaid income tax for 1955 began accruing on Sunday, April 15, 1956, and Brown v. United States, 393 F. 2d 653, US Court of Claims, March 15, 1968 to the same effect.
Determining the Correct Section 6166 Installment Due Date When the Return Due Date Falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Legal Holiday
The rules noted above apply in determining -
- the section 6166(f)(1) interest payment due dates for the first 4 years of a 14-year section 6166 election; and
- the section 6166(a)(3) installment due date selected by the estate.
Return Due Date Example 3:
|Apr-18-2019||Date of Death|
|Jan-18-2020||Section 6075(a) return due date, a Saturday|
|Jan-21-2020||Section 7503 return filing due date, the following Tuesday (Martin Luther King Day was Monday, Jan-20-2020)|
|Jan-18-2021||Section 6166(f)(1) anniversary due date for the first interest payment|
|Jan-18-2025||Section 6166(a)(3) default due date for payment of the first installment|
|Sep-18-2024||Section 6166(a)(3) installment due date selected by the executor|
Return Due Date, Example 3, Comment 1: In this example the executor selected a month other than January for payment of the first installment of tax, The executor can select any month. Reg. section 20.6166-(e)(2) provides:
The executor may defer payment of tax (but not interest) for any period up to 5 years from the date determined under section 6151(a) for payment of the estate tax. The date chosen for payment of the first installment of tax is not required to be on an annual anniversary of the original due date of the tax; however, it must be the date within any month which corresponds to the day of the month determined under section 6151(a).
The executor could not have chosen Sep-18-2025 for the first installment payment date because it would have been more than 5 years after the section 6151(a) date of Jan-18-2020. If the executor decides that September must be the installment payment month for whatever reason, then the first installment cannot be paid later than Sep-18-2024, which is the latest September date that falls within 5 years of Jan-18-2020.
Return Due Date, Example 3, Comment 2: The provisions of Comment 1, above, do not apply if an estate has filed a section 6166(b)(7), section 6166(b)(8), or a section 6166(b)(10) election. In these 3 events there is no 5-year deferral for payment of principal, as the date for payment of the first installment is fixed by statute as the section 6151(a) date for payment of the estate tax. See -
Section 6166(b)(8)(A)(ii); or
Each of which provide:
the executor shall be treated as having selected under subsection (a)(3) the date prescribed by section 6151(a) . . .