How to Report a Deceased Employee's Wages

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Even after an employee dies, the tax paperwork goes on. You have to file a W-2 for whatever you paid the employee during the year. You also use the form to report any accrued wages you paid to his estate in the death year, but not any payments made after the year ends.

The W-2

You report the pay the employee received before his death in Box 1 on the W-2 and any withheld income tax in Box 2. In Boxes 3 and 5, report the total paid to the worker. Include any money you paid to his estate after his death. Report not just salary but vacation pay and any other compensation. Report Social Security taxes on the amount in Box 4 and Medicare tax in Box 5.

The 1099

If you make any post-death payments to the estate, or the worker's beneficiary, you have to send out a 1099-MISC. Note the amount of the payment in Box 3 of that form. One copy of the 1099-MISC goes to the Internal Revenue Service, the other to the beneficiary or the estate executor. If you pay the estate or beneficiary in the year after the death year, you still have to report it on a 1099-MISC.