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Q.  What do I have to do, as executor, if one of the beneficiaries is a nonresident alien in Canada?  

According to federal tax law, Executors must request a tax ID number from the beneficiary. Nonresident aliens use a W-7 form to apply for the individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). If you are a *Do It Yourself* person, you can get the guide publication at Publication 559, Cat. No. 15107U, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators  You should also check back for the latest iteration (for the 2014 tax year).

A couple of points to note.  If a domestic estate has a distributable net income, the estate will most likely need to withhold taxes if a beneficiary is a nonresident alien.

And there is a penalty for failure to comply.  Penalty. If you do not include the EIN or the
taxpayer identification number of another person where it is required on a return, statement, or other document, you are liable for a penalty for each failure, unless you can show reasonable cause. You also are liable for a penalty if you do not give the taxpayer identification number of another person when required on a return, statement, or other document.

Q.  What do I have to do, as executor?  What are my responsibilities?

The primary duties of a personal representative are to collect all the decedent’s assets, pay his or her creditors, and distribute the remaining assets to the heirs or other beneficiaries. The personal representative also must perform the following duties:

  • Apply for an employer identification number (EIN) for the estate.
  • File all tax returns, including income, estate and gift tax returns, when due.
  • Pay the tax determined up to the date of discharge from duties.

Other duties of the personal representative in federal tax matters are discussed in other sections of Publication 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators If any beneficiary is a
nonresident alien, also see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities, for information on the personal representative’s duties as a withholding agent and Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

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