Do I need a tax ID number for my trust?

June 5, 2002

Date:  Wed, 22 May 2002
From:  Brian

Good web page. Just one question: does a trust need a tax ID number?


Date:  Mon, 3 Jun 2002

Hello Brian,

An identification number is required for many trusts. For example, after a death, an irrevocable trust may hold the assets of a decedent. The income and deductions are reported on an income tax return for the trust, and the beneficiaries' shares of any income that is distributed or distributable are reported on Schedule K-1 for inclusion on the beneficiaries' individual income tax returns. Since a separate income tax return is required for the trust, an identification number should be applied for in this situation.

For other trusts, no identification number is required. For example, revocable living trusts are a very popular estate planning technique. Since the person who creates the trust, called the grantor, has retained the power to revoke the trust, the trust is disregarded for income tax reporting. The income and deductions of the trust are reported on the income tax return of the grantor. Since a separate income tax return is not required for the trust, no identification number should be applied for a revocable trust during the grantor's lifetime.

The form for applying for an identification number for a trust is Form SS-4.

Since there are many different types of trusts, you should consult with a tax advisor to determine whether an identification number is required for the particular trust you are dealing with.

Thanks to Jim Carolan, Vice President Trust Advisor at Bank One, Flint, Michigan for suggesting that we expand our response on this issue.

Good luck!
Mike Gray

For answers to new questions, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight by filling out the form below.

Home    Newsletter Archive    Introducing Michael Gray, CPA    Articles    Tax FAQ   Need Help?    Other Links

Michael Gray, CPA
2482 Wooding Ct.
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 918-3162
FAX: (408) 938-0610
Hours: 8am - 5pm PDT Monday - Friday

Find us on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Connect on LinkedIn
Connect on Google+
Our Blog

Subscribe to Michael Gray, CPA's
Tax & Business Insight

We respect your email privacy