Understanding IRS Form 56: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Updated on April 9, 2024

Introduction: Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can often seem daunting, especially when it involves understanding specific forms and their requirements. IRS Form 56 is one such document that is vital yet not commonly understood. This simple guide is designed to match your search intent, providing clarity on when and how to use IRS Form 56, ensuring you maintain your fiduciary responsibilities effectively.

What is IRS Form 56?

IRS Form 56 is utilized to inform the IRS of the creation or termination of a fiduciary relationship. A fiduciary acts on behalf of another person or persons when dealing with tax matters. Recognizing the search intent for a “Simple Guide to IRS Form 56,” it’s crucial to note that this form is a critical tool for estate administrators, trustees, guardians, and others who have assumed a fiduciary role.

When to File IRS Form 56

This form should be filed when there is a court appointment of a fiduciary responsibility or when such a relationship is established through state law. Timeliness is key; generally, the form should be filed promptly after the fiduciary role is assumed. Delays can lead to misunderstandings or issues with the IRS. For detailed information on filing deadlines, refer to the IRS instructions for Form 56.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Completing IRS Form 56

The form itself is divided into several sections, each requiring specific information:

  1. Identifying Information: Provide the name, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), and address of the person for whom you are acting as a fiduciary.
  2. Court and Administrative Proceedings: If applicable, detail the proceedings that led to your fiduciary role.
  3. Nature of Liability and Tax Periods: List the types of taxes and periods for which you are assuming responsibility.
  4. Notices of Fiduciary Relationship: Indicate whether you are establishing or terminating the fiduciary relationship.

For each section, ensure you provide complete and accurate information to avoid processing delays. Errors can be costly and time-consuming to rectify. For comprehensive instructions, visit IRS Form 56 Instructions.

The Fiduciary’s Responsibilities and IRS Form 56

The heart of Form 56 lies in its role in defining your fiduciary duties to the IRS. As a fiduciary, you are responsible for, among other things, filing returns, paying any due taxes, and maintaining compliance with tax laws on behalf of the estate or individual you represent.

Tips for Filing Form 56 Correctly

To avoid common pitfalls:

  • Double-check the fiduciary’s name and TIN before submission.
  • Ensure all relevant tax periods are listed.
  • Keep a copy for your records.

Refer to resources such as TaxAct’s Support for additional guidance.

Navigating Challenges with IRS Form 56

If you encounter issues while filling out Form 56 or have questions, assistance is available. The IRS provides resources and guidance, which can be accessed through their official website. It’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional if you’re unsure.


IRS Form 56 is a pivotal form for anyone assuming or ending a fiduciary role. This guide has aimed to simplify the process, ensuring you understand when and how to file it. Proper filing helps maintain tax compliance and uphold the fiduciary duties bestowed upon you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is IRS Form 56 used for?

IRS Form 56 is used to notify the IRS of the beginning or ending of a fiduciary relationship.

Who needs to file IRS Form 56?

Individuals or entities acting in a fiduciary capacity for another person or entity in tax matters need to file Form 56.

When should IRS Form 56 be filed?

It should be filed when the fiduciary relationship begins or when there’s a court order.

Can IRS Form 56 be filed electronically?

Currently, Form 56 must be filed on paper. Check the IRS website for any updates on electronic filing options.
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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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