The Executor (or other person charged with the decedent’s property) must file the final tax return for a decedent. This final return is due the year following the date of death. For deaths in 2013, the final return would be due in 2014; provided however, if the decedent did not file their return (which would be likely if the person died in January or February), the Executor must also file the previous year’s return.
In addition to the income realized prior to death, the Executor is also responsible for filing the income taxes after the date of death. This would be on a 1041 and would be for the period following the decedent’s death if that income is above $600.00. Here is a link to the IRS instructions on 1041 filings.
Here is an example: John dies on May 30, 2013. The Executor must file John’s 1040 (as well as any state or local taxes) for the income received from January 1, 2013 – May 30, 2013. For income received by the Estate after the date of death, the Executor must file a 1041 for the Estate (June 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013).