Are Funeral Expenses Tax-Deductible in the US?

Disclaimer: We are not legal or financial advisors. One should not assume the words written below are authoritative. Instead, one should consult with the legal experts in their jurisdiction in order to determine the best method of incorporating funeral expenses into their tax write-offs. Thank you.

Everyone knows that funeral expenses are not deductible in many countries. Even when the deceased was a close relative or friend, few will allow you to write off these costs from your taxes. What most people don`t know is that there are some exceptions when funeral expenses become tax-deductible.

Funeral expenses are not tax-deductible for individuals in the United States. Although, some estates which pay for funerals may be able to write off a portion of the cost. However, certain services tangential to a funeral, such as tombstone costs, may be deductible in some states.

To get a deduction, funeral expenses must be paid in the year that you file your income taxes. In addition, the expense should only include the fees directly related to a deceased individual. Finally, these costs must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

What funeral expenses are deductible?

The expenses will become deductible in rare cases. For example, you can get a somewhat accurate answer to the question of “are funeral expenses tax-deductible” when your family member was murdered or died as a result of military conflict.
If any of these rules apply to you, consult with an attorney so he can guide you through the complicated tax laws. You can start by looking at these examples of funeral expenses that are deductible after a death:

A family member is killed in a military conflict – a war, a battle, or an assassination. In this situation, some taxpayers have been allowed to deduct funeral costs from their taxes as long as the government did not reimburse them.

A family member is murdered and you paid for a funeral on your own. In this situation, you can deduct any associated funeral expenses from your taxes as long as the government or other sources did not reimburse them. You will also need to prove that these costs were not covered with life insurance or other sources.

A family member dies in a car accident and you paid for the funeral on your own. In this situation, you can`t deduct these costs from your taxes unless you were reimbursed under other sources. Again, you will need to prove that these costs were not covered with life insurance or other sources.

If none of these situations apply to you and your deceased family member was not famous, then there is no hope that funeral expenses will be tax-deductible. If this situation applies to you, talk to an accountant who specializes in taxation. They can help you determine if some of the costs were covered by other sources or if, like in most cases, such expenses are not tax-deductible.

Once you know for sure, if the costs aren`t deductible, find out what happens to those who die without a will. If there is no such thing as a will and no one has the legal right to inherit the property of your deceased family member, then all his possessions may be seized by the state.

The question of “are funeral expenses tax-deductible?” is a complicated one and you must have all the facts before making a decision. Once going through this process, you will decide whether or not a particular expense can be deducted from your taxes.

With that being said, if you are considering taking a deduction for funeral expenses, seek out an accountant and tax attorney in your area who lives and works with people like you.

When can you deduct funeral expenses?

It is important to note that the deduction process is very complicated and contains many exceptions. If you want to deduct funeral costs from your taxes, be sure to find out how much income you must-have for those expenses to become tax-deductible. Only then can you decide whether or not this expense will be a good addition to your tax return.

Tax laws are complicated and they change frequently. If you plan on taking a deduction for funeral expenses, be sure to consul twith an expert who can make this process as painless as possible.

Is a funeral a write-off?

What funeral expenses are tax-deductible in most cases? Most of the time, most people can`t deduct these costs from their taxes because most states don`t allow them. Suppose you do not fall into any of the three previously mentioned categories. In that case, the cost associated with the services provided by certain funeral homes will not be tax-deductible, even if there was no other way that your family could have afforded them.

You have to accept this fact.
It is also important to note that you can`t deduct these costs from your taxes unless the laws of your state allow it. For example, if you live in California or Texas, there is no way to deduct funeral expenses from your taxes because those states don`t allow it.

If an employer paid for the services, they are usually tax deductible. However, not all employers offer this benefit and even fewer actually pay for them. For example, if your employer pays $2000 towards a $4000 funeral service bill, you can deduct only $2000 from your taxes.

Can you deduct death expenses?

Yes! The deceased person does receive some benefits associated with his death. However these aren`t necessarily monetary gifts but rather other benefits for burial. The deceased person can receive a benefit worth as much as $200 from the Social Security office. This benefit is called a funeral expense allowance and it was created to help those who have no other means of paying for their funerals after their death.

The entire amount you collect from this allowance will not be tax deductible, but rather half of it. That being said, the total amount deducted will be limited to $530, so there is a chance that a deduction for this type of expense won`t be possible.
Another way that you could end up deducting some expenses from your taxes would be by considering all the gifts that you receive in memory of your deceased relative. If you received money or other items as a thank you for the funeral expenses and other services, then you can deduct part of those expenses if they exceed $500.

The US Treasury allows taxpayers to deduct expenses incurred for the funeral of a spouse, mother or father, child under age 13, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild over age 13 but not yet 18, brother or sister. However, these expenses are subject to income limitations. The deduction amount is limited to $1500 after applying the basic standard deduction ($11300 if married filing jointly).

Additionally, you should have legally paid any other taxes due on your return for this deduction to be allowed. If two people are married at the time of death, and one dies within two years (short period) then both partners can claim the maximum deduction amount as long as no co-payments were made to each other’s funerals.

Conclusion

There are many rules for this type of deduction. If you want to ask about specific information, check with your local IRS office or an accountant specializing in tax law. An accountant will be able to answer your questions quickly and more precisely than the personnel at the IRS Office, who can only provide general information.

Nevertheless, whatever the amount may be that you end up deducting from your taxes, know that it will only apply to future years. You cannot get a refund for expenses already incurred in previous years. This is why people usually prefer to have an accountant look over their deductions before filing returns at the end of each calendar year.

Being able to deduct funeral expenses is something that everyone should consider when planning an estate plan. Like other deductions, there are specific rules regarding what can or cannot be deducted. Hence, you must keep organized records if you want to take advantage of this deduction strategy. From learning about several different strategies for claiming these expenses, you`ve probably gleaned some valuable information about how you can go about complying with the IRS`s rules for claiming these expenses.

If you haven`t already put a plan in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out when it comes to settling your estate, the time has come to take action. Failure to do so could result in many problems down the road. For example, if you fail to execute a will or trust at some point, then there is a good chance that any remaining assets would end up going straight into probate court and subsequently be distributed equally among your heirs at law (children).

Although this isn`t necessarily a bad thing, it certainly isn’t what you planned to do with those assets once you passed away. This is where having an attorney help create your proper documents can help immensely.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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