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<Their computer will probably send a bill, and the administrator of the estate can send a letter saying there are no assets.>


Phil:

I understand that if there is nothing left there is nothing left. I am curious just how tightly defined is that? We have a number of posters here who talk about their "worthless stock" when in fact it is not worthless from a tax POV. In those cases one needs a formal declaration from the company or the bankruptcy court in order for the stock to be deemed legally worhthless.

In this case, looking at things from a practical POV (I admit, not usually a very smart thing to do when it comes to taxes) it may make sense for an administrator to just pay the $53 to resolve the matter. I can envision a series of correspondence stretching out over several years with the tax authorities that could easily eat up a lot more than $53 of a persons time. If paying the $53 out of one's pocket permanently resolves the issue, I would consider it a reasonable use of the $53.

I understand that each of us may differ on when we would deem it worthwhile to pay or to not to pay such a bill. Does the IRS have any definitions on this? While the bank accounts may well be depleted, I would expect that in many cases there is at least some personal property that could be sold to more than cover this minor expense. It is really sad to think about an older person having nothing but the hospital gown on their back as their only worldly possession.


B
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