Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a fiduciary?
A. A fiduciary is a guardian, trustee, executor, administrator, receiver, conservator, or any person, whether individual or corporate, acting in any fiduciary capacity for any person, estate or trust.
Q. What are the filing requirements for a beneficiary who receives Montana source income as a distribution from an estate or trust?
A. The beneficiaries of an estate or trust must file a Montana income tax return to report their portion of taxable Montana source income that was distributed to them by an estate or trust. A fiduciary reports to each beneficiary their share of Montana source income on a Montana Schedule K-1.
Q. What is the residency status of an estate or trust?
A. Resident Estate
A decedent’s estate is a resident estate if the decedent was a Montana resident on the date of his or her death. If the estate is a bankruptcy estate, it is treated as a resident estate if the person for whom the estate was created is a Montana resident.
A. Resident Trust
A trust is a resident trust if it establishes a sufficient connection to Montana. Several factors are considered to determine whether a trust has a sufficient connection to Montana and include, but are not limited to, the testator’s, grantor’s, settlor’s, or creator’s domicile; the location where the trust was created; the location of trust property; the beneficiaries’ domicile; the trustees’ domicile; and the location of the trust’s administration.
Examples of resident trusts include, but are not limited to:
• Any trust that designates Montana as its principal place of administration;
• Any trust that is primarily administered by a trustee or representative who is a Montana resident or whose principal place of business is located in Montana;
• Any irrevocable trust created by, or consisting of property of, a Montana resident on the date the trust or portion of the trust became irrevocable and has at least one income beneficiary who, for all or some portion of the trust’s current taxable year, was a Montana resident;
• Any trust created by the will of a decedent who was a Montana resident at the time of the decedent’s death; or
• Any trust created by, or caused to be created by, a court as a result of the death of an individual when:
• Property was transferred to an irrevocable inter vivos trust as a result of a decedent’s death;
• The decedent was a Montana resident at the time of the decedent’s death; and
• The trust has at least one income beneficiary who, for all or some of the trust’s current taxable year, was a Montana resident.
Generally speaking, the ‘principal place of administration’ of a trust is the usual place where its day-to-day activities are carried on by the trustee or person who is primarily responsible for the administration of the trust. If the principal place of administration of the trust cannot be identified under that standard, and assuming that the trust agreement does not identify a different location, then it is determined as follows:
• If the trust has a single trustee, the principal place of administration of the trust is the trustee’s residence or usual place of business; or
• If the trust has more than one trustee, the principal place of administration of the trust is the residence or usual place of business of any of the co-trustees as agreed upon by them. If not agreed upon by the co-trustees, the principal place of administration of the trust is the residence or usual place of business of any of the co-trustees.
A. Nonresident Estate or Trust
If the estate or trust is not a resident, it is treated as a nonresident estate or trust. For a nonresident estate or trust, Montana tax liability is computed as if the entity was a resident estate or trust. The computed tax liability is then multiplied by a ratio of the estate or trust’s undistributed Montana source income to its undistributed total income.
A nonresident estate reports income earned from Montana sources in the same manner as a nonresident individual taxpayer would.
Q. When is a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3) due?
A. An estate or trust's Montana filing period is the same as its federal filing period. Form FID-3 is due following the close of the tax year for:
• Calendar year estate or trust - on or before April 15
• Fiscal year estate or trust - on or before the 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the tax year.
Q. Who has to file a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. A fiduciary has to file a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3) if an estate or trust’s Montana adjusted total income is $2,380 or more.
A tax return is not required if the estate or trust is held for an educational, charitable or religious purpose.
Q. Who has to sign a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. Form FID-3 has to be signed and dated by the fiduciary or an officer representing the fiduciary. Form FID-3 is not considered complete unless it is signed. Unsigned tax forms will delay the processing of the return. If a paid tax preparer prepares Form FID-3, the name, address, telephone number and signature of the tax preparer has to be included on the tax return.
Q. What is the mailing address for the Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. Please mail Form FID-3 and all required documents to:
Montana Department of Revenue
PO Box 8021
Helena, MT 59604-8021
Q. How does a fiduciary apply for an extension of time to file Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. A fiduciary is granted an automatic, six-month extension of time for filing Form FID-3 if any of the following apply:
• The estate or trust’s 2016 tax liability is $200 or less.
• The fiduciary paid 100% of the estate or trust’s 2015 Montana income tax liability through estimated tax payments, withholding tax, or a combination of both estimated and withholding tax payments by April 18, 2017.
• The fiduciary paid 90% of the estate or trust’s 2016 Montana income tax liability through estimated tax payments, withholding tax, or a combination of both estimated and withholding tax payments by April 18, 2017.
• You are a first time filer.
• You had zero or negative taxable income for 2015.
• You do not need to apply for a federal extension in order to receive a Montana extension.
Complete the Form EXT-FID-16 (Montana Extension Payment Worksheet) to determine whether the estate or trust has a Montana extension payment requirement. This form is available on our website or by calling us at (406) 444-6900.
Q. What forms and schedules have to be included with the tax return?
A. Unless the tax return is filed electronically, a fiduciary is required to include a complete copy of federal Form 1041 and all related forms and schedules. If a fiduciary is claiming a credit for taxes paid to another state, the fiduciary is required to include a copy of the return(s) from the other state. If the return is filed electronically and the federal forms and schedules or the other state or country’s income tax return cannot be attached, retain copies so they can be provided to the department upon request.
Q. Which taxable year and accounting method does an estate or trust have to use?
A. The 2016 Form FID-3 has to be filed for calendar year 2016 or for a fiscal year beginning in 2016. If the tax return is for a fiscal year, or a short tax year (less than 12 months), enter the taxable year in the space at the top of Form FID-3, page 1.
The taxable year and accounting method for Montana have to be the same as the taxable year and accounting method used for federal income tax purposes. If the estate or trust changes its federal taxable year or accounting method, it is required to change its Montana taxable year and accounting method accordingly. A copy of the approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to change an accounting period or method must accompany the first tax return that reflects the change.
Q. When does the estate or trust need a new FEIN?
A fiduciary is required to obtain a new FEIN if either of the following statements is true:
• A trust is created with funds from the estate (not simply a continuation of the estate).
• The estate operates a business after the owner’s death.
A fiduciary is not required to obtain a new FEIN if the administrator, personal representative or executor changes his or her name or address.
A fiduciary is required to obtain a new FEIN if any of the following statements are true:
• One person is the grantor/maker of many trusts.
• A trust changes to an estate.
• A living or inter vivos trust changes to a testamentary trust.
• A living trust terminates by distributing its property to a residual trust.
A fiduciary is not required to obtain a new FEIN if either of the following statements is true:
• The trustee changes.
• The grantor or beneficiary changes his/her name or address.
Filing Requirements for Specific Entities
Q. Are there special filing requirements for certain types of estates and trusts?
A. Yes, several estates and trusts are subject to special filing requirements. Refer to the the following list for a description.
Common Trust Funds
A common trust fund maintained by a bank files federal Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income. See IRC section 584 and Regulations section 1.6032-1 for more information. For Montana purposes, the fund would file Montana Form PR-1 (Montana Partnership Information and Composite Tax Return).
Do not use a decedent’s social security number for an estate. If the federal employer identification number (FEIN) is not available at the time of filing, enter “applied for” and the application date in the box provided.
Electing Small Business Trust (ESBT)
If a fiduciary makes the election under IRC Section 1361 for the trust to be an ESBT for federal purposes, the trust will be treated as an ESBT for Montana income tax purposes. No separate election for Montana purposes is required. Special rules apply when computing the ESBT’s tax liability. The activity from an ESBT, which is treated as a separate trust, is reported on Schedule G (Electing Small Business Trust Tax Calculation). The tax liability of an ESBT is determined on Schedule G and combined with the tax liability of the remainder (non-ESBT portion) of the trust on Form FID-3, line 36. The ESBT’s Montana tax liability is calculated in the usual manner, using the regular tax table. If the trust is only an ESBT, complete the heading portion of Form FID-3, Schedule G and Form FID-3, lines 36 through 53.
Exempt trusts filing federal Form 990-T (Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return) to report unrelated business income must file a Montana Form CLT-4 (Montana Corporation License Tax Return) and pay any applicable tax to Montana.
Grantor Type Trusts
The fiduciaries of grantor trusts are required to file informational tax returns and send copies to the grantors/owners that are required to report the income, deductions and credits on their Montana income tax return.
If the entire trust is a grantor trust, complete only the heading portion of Form FID-3 and mark the “Grantor Type Trust” box. Do not show any dollar amounts, including any withholding amounts and estimated payments, on the form itself; show dollar amounts only on a supporting statement. Include the supporting statement with the return, along with a complete copy of the federal Form 1041.
Pooled Income Funds
A fiduciary files federal Form 5227 (Split-Interest Trust Information Return) along with a statement to support the following:
• The calculation of the yearly rate of return,
• The computation of the deduction for distributions to the beneficiaries, and
• The computation of any charitable deduction.
If filing for a pooled income fund, complete only the heading portion of Form FID-3 and mark the “Pooled Income Fund” box. Do not show any dollar amounts on the form itself; show dollar amounts only on the supporting statement. Include the supporting statement and a complete copy of federal Form 5227 with the Form FID-3.
Qualified Funeral Trusts
The purchasers of pre-need funeral services are the grantors and the owners of pre-need funeral trusts as established under state laws. However, fiduciaries of pre-need funeral trusts can elect to file the return and pay the tax for qualified funeral trusts (QFTs). The IRS allows a fiduciary to file federal Form 1041-QFT (U.S. Income Tax Return for Qualified Funeral Trusts) which is a single, composite tax return for some or all QFTs for which he or she is a fiduciary. A fiduciary of more than one qualified funeral trust may file the Form FID-3 reporting all the QFTs included on the composite federal return, rather than a separate return for each trust. However, the applicable tax due is computed on the combined taxable income of all the included QFTs, less one exemption of $2,380.
Qualified Settlement Fund or Designated Settlement Fund
Except as otherwise provided in Regulations section 1.468B-5(b), for purposes of subtitle F of the Internal Revenue Code, a qualified settlement fund is treated as a corporation, and any tax imposed under Regulations section 1.468B-2(a) is treated as a tax imposed by section 11. See Regulations section 1.468B-2(k) for more information. A designated settlement fund is taxed in the same manner as a qualified settlement fund. These funds file federal Form 1120-SF (U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds) to report transfers received, income earned, deductions claimed, distributions made, and to figure the income tax liability of a qualified or designated settlement fund. For Montana purposes, these funds would file Montana Form CIT (Montana Corporation Income Tax Return).
Qualified Subchapter S Trust (QSST)
A QSST (as defined in IRC section 1361(d)(3)) follows the reporting rules for grantor type trusts. Income allocated to S corporation stock held by the trust is treated as owned by the income beneficiary of the portion of the trust that owns the stock.
Section 645 Election
A section 645 election allows a qualified revocable trust to be treated and taxed as part of the related estate during the election period. If the election is made for federal income tax purposes, it also applies for Montana. Enclose a copy of the federal Form 8855 or the letter making the election.
Split-interest trusts described in IRC section 4947(a)(2), including charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts described in IRC section 664 that meet the definition of a split-interest trust, file federal Form 5227. If filing for a split-interest trust, complete only the heading portion of Form FID-3 and mark the “Other” box. Do not show any dollar amounts on the form itself; show dollar amounts only on the supporting statement. Include the supporting statement to the form, along with a complete copy of the federal Form 5227.
Tax Payment Requirements
Q. What are the 2016 tax rates for estates and trusts?
|If your taxable income is:
||But not more than
||Then your tax is
||1% of your taxable income
||2% of your taxable income
||3% of your taxable income
||4% of your taxable income
||5% of your taxable income
||6% of your taxable income
|$17,400 or more
||6.9% of your taxable income
Q. Is a fiduciary required to make estimated tax payments on behalf of an estate or trust?
A. A fiduciary for an estate or trust is required to make estimated tax payments in 2017 if one of the following conditions applies:
• The net income tax liability calculated on the estate or trust’s taxable income for the 2016 tax year (as shown on the 2016 Form FID-3, line 36) was $500 or more.
• The fiduciary expects to owe (after subtracting any Montana income tax withheld, mineral royalty tax withheld and tax credits) $500 or more for the 2017 tax year.
Complete Form ESW-FID (2017 Montana Fiduciary Estimated Income Tax Worksheet), to determine if there is a requirement to pay estimated tax for 2017. This form is available on our website or by calling us at (406) 444-6900.
Q. Is the estate or trust subject to interest or penalties if the fiduciary doesn't file a tax return and/or pay any applicable taxes by the due date?
A. The following penalties and interest apply to estates and trusts.
Interest on Underpayment of Estimated Taxes
A fiduciary is required to pay the estate or trust’s income tax liability throughout the year if the estate or trust will owe an income tax liability of at least $500 after subtracting tax credits and withholding payments. Payments can be made through withholding, installment payments of estimated taxes, or a combination of both.
If a fiduciary did not pay in advance at least 90% of the estate or trust’s current income tax liability (after applying credits) or 100% of the previous year’s income tax liability (after applying credits), the fiduciary may have to pay interest on the underpayment of estimated tax.
To calculate the interest, please complete Form EST-I, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals and Fiduciaries.
Late File Penalty
If a fiduciary files the estate and trust tax return after April 18, 2017—or October 15, 2017, with a valid extension (for calendar year filers)—the fiduciary will need to pay a late file penalty if there is tax due on Form FID-3, line 44. The penalty is equal to the lesser of $50 or the amount of tax due. The fiduciary does not have to pay a late file penalty if the tax return is filed late and shows a refund. To calculate the late file penalty, compare the amount reported on Form FID-3, line 44 to $50. The late file penalty is the lesser of these amounts.
Late Payment Penalty
Unless the estate or trust’s tax liability is $200 or less, an extension to file a return does not give a fiduciary an extension to pay the tax. If a fiduciary has not paid all of the estate or trust’s tax liability by the original due date of the return, a late payment penalty will be assessed. The late payment penalty is equal to 1.2% per month or part of a calendar month on the unpaid amount from the original due date. This penalty cannot exceed 12% (10 months x 1.2%) of the tax liability. For example, if the fiduciary does not pay the tax due until May 10, 2017 (for a calendar year estate or trust), the late payment penalty will be 2.4% (two parts of a month x 1.2%) of the unpaid tax. To calculate the late payment penalty, multiply the amount on Form FID-3, line 44 by 1.2% per month or part of a calendar month that the payment is late.
Note: If an estate or trust’s tax liability is $200 or less, and if the return is filed and the tax liability paid on or before the extended due date, a late payment penalty will not be assessed. However, if the return is not filed and the tax liability is not paid by the extended due date, a late payment penalty will be assessed from the original due date of the return.
Unless the estate or trust’s tax liability is $200 or less, an extension to file a return does not give a fiduciary an extension to pay the tax. If 100% of the tax liability is not paid by April 18, 2017 (for calendar year filers), interest is due at a rate of 8% per year, computed daily on the unpaid balance. To calculate the interest, multiply Form FID-3, line 44 by 0.02192% (0.0002192) times the number of days after the original due date that the tax is paid. Interest accrues from the original due date.
Note: Interest will not be assessed if the tax liability is $200 or less, and if the return is filed and the tax liability paid on or before the extended due date. However, if the return is not filed and the tax liability is not paid by the extended due date, interest will accrue from the original due date of the return.
Electronic Filing & Payment Options
Q. What options does a fiduciary have to file a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. Electronic filing is available for the 2016 Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3). A listing of approved software vendors is provided on our website. Tax professionals who are authorized e-file providers can submit both the federal and state tax returns at the same time.
Beginning in 2013, taxpayers were no longer be able to file Form FID-3 through the TAP. However, taxpayers are able to make payments, view returns and payments, update account information and grant access to others (such as tax preparers) in the TAP. The only service that is not available through the TAP is the one allowing a fiduciary to file Form FID-3.
Q. What options does a fiduciary have to pay the estate or trust’s Montana taxes electronically?
A. Fiduciaries can pay the estate or trust’s Montana taxes electronically by:
• E-filing a return and requesting electronic funds withdrawal,
• Making an electronic payment from a checking or savings account or a credit/debit card payment using the TransAction Portal (TAP) service, or
• Scheduling an ACH credit through a bank if the bank supports this process.
Electronic funds withdrawal and e-check payments can be scheduled to be withdrawn at a later date. Interest and late payment penalties will be assessed on any amount not paid when due.
Q. If a fiduciary files the tax return electronically, what information must it send in and what documents must it retain?
A. If a fiduciary files electronically, the fiduciary does not have to mail in a paper copy of the tax return, or any accompanying federal Form(s) W-2 or 1099, or any other Montana supplemental forms. When the fiduciary files electronically, the fiduciary represents that he/she has kept all the documents required as part of the estate or trust’s tax record and that it will provide copies if we ask for them. The act of completing and filing the tax return electronically is considered the fiduciary’s authorized signature.
Q. When is a fiduciary required to amend a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. A fiduciary is required to file an amended Montana tax return if information on the estate or trust’s previously filed return was reported incorrectly or to report changes made to the federal income tax return, including changes made by the Internal Revenue Service. If the Internal Revenue Service changes the estate or trust’s federal taxable income or if the fiduciary voluntarily changes the estate or trust’s federal taxable income, the fiduciary is required to file an amended Montana income tax return within 90 days of receiving notification of the change from the IRS or after filing an amended federal income tax return.
Q. How does a fiduciary amend a Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. There is no special form to amend Form FID-3. To amend a previously filed Form FID-3, use Form FID-3 for the year that is being amended and mark the amended box at the top of the first page.
Complete the amended Form FID-3 and its applicable schedules with the corrected amounts. If the corrected amounts are also reported on the federal return and/or federal schedules, include the amended federal form and schedules with the amended Montana return.
Complete and provide a corrected Montana Schedule K-1 along with a copy of the amended Form FID-3 to the beneficiaries. The fiduciary has three years from the due date of the original tax return to file an amended return and correct any error (five years from the due date of original tax returns filed for tax years beginning before 2015).
Q. How long does a fiduciary need to maintain an estate or trust’s tax records after the fiduciary has filed the Montana Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts (Form FID-3)?
A. Estates and trusts should keep all tax records for at least five years from the date that the fiduciary filed the Form FID-3. The statute of limitations was reduced from five years to three years beginning with the 2015 tax year.
Q. How does a fiduciary authorize someone to deal with matters concerning filing and tax obligations related to an estate or trust?
A. A fiduciary can appoint someone such as a tax professional to deal with matters concerning Form FID-3 or tax filing requirements and tax payment obligations of estates or trusts by filing a Montana Power of Attorney, Authorization to Disclose Tax Information (Form POA). The Form POA may be filed by mail, email or a personal visit. Please refer to Form POA instructions for more information.
Note: Form POA does not authorize the representative to receive any refund check, bind the entity to anything (including any additional tax liability), receive any information about any other tax year or tax matter, or otherwise represent the entity before the department.
Q. What does the box that asks “May the DOR discuss this tax return with the tax preparer?” mean?
A. If a fiduciary marks the box, we can discuss any concerns that we might have with the 2016 estate and trust tax return—a missing schedule, for example—with the tax preparer. If the fiduciary does not mark the box, we cannot discuss the tax return with anyone but the fiduciary unless a power of attorney allows us to discuss the return with someone else.
If yes is marked, the fiduciary is authorizing us to call the tax preparer to answer any questions that arise while we are processing the 2016 tax return. By marking the box the fiduciary is also authorizing us to:
• Request that the tax preparer give us any information that is missing from the return.
• Respond to the tax preparer’s call to us for information about the processing of the return or the status of refund(s) or payment(s).
• Discuss certain notices from us about math errors, offsets and return preparation. Note: The department will only send notices directly to the fiduciary, estate or trust and not to the tax preparer.
The fiduciary is not authorizing the tax preparer to receive any refund check, bind the estate or trust to anything (including any additional tax liability), receive any information about any other tax year or tax matter, or otherwise represent the estate or trust before the department. Please be aware that this authorization cannot be revoked. The authorization will, however, automatically end no later than the due date, without regard to extensions, for filing next year’s (2017) tax return. This is April 17, 2018 for most estates and trusts.
If the fiduciary wants to expand or change the tax preparer’s authorization (for example, to verify any estimated payments it will be making in the future), the fiduciary can use Form POA (Power of Attorney, Authorization to Disclose Tax Information).