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Estate Account - TIN or Deceased SSN?

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Question: 
We have an attorney who wants to open an escrow account; however, the funds are from an estate that is being contested. He wants to open the account with the deceased's SSN. Should he not have to get a tax ID number?
Answer: 

The following is an excerpt from IRS Revenue Ruling 84-73:

Rev. Rul. 64-99, 1964-1 (Part 1) C.B. 482, holds that if a return or other document is required to be filed for an estate or trust, including returns of information under sections 6042 and 6049 of the Code, the fiduciary must obtain and furnish an identifying number to be included in that return or document even though the estate or trust will be closed during the year. The identifying number to be used by an estate or trust is an employer identification number. It must be furnished to any payor of interest or other person required to make a return with respect to the estate.

Payors of interest must use the identifying number of the person to whom the account is payable in reporting interest on Form 1099. If the interest is payable to an estate, under Rev. Rul. 64-99, the administrator or executor must furnish the estate’s employer identification number, not the decedent’s social security number to the payor. (emphasis added)


A revenue ruling has the force of law; it is not a suggestion or a request. Moreover, CIP regulations require you to get the correct TIN for a U.S. person's account, not just the one they want to give you. If the account was not interest bearing, the correct TIN would still be the estate's EIN. When the dispute is resolved, the estate will allocate the interest earned among the heirs on their K-1's.

First published on BankersOnline.com 10/26/09

First published on 10/26/2009

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