You are the legal representative of a deceased person if:
- you are named as the executor in the will;
- you are appointed as the administrator of the estate by a court; or
- you are the liquidator for an estate in Quebec.
As the legal representative, you may wish to appoint an authorized representative to deal with us for tax matters on your behalf. You may do so by completing and mailing (do not fax) Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative.
Unless included in your business income, trustee, executor, or liquidator fees paid to you for acting as an executor is income from an office or employment. As the executor, you must report these fees on a T4 slip. For more information see "Employment by a Trustee" in Chapter 1 of the T4001, Employers' Guide - Payroll Deductions and Remittances.
As the legal representative, you should provide us with the deceased's date of death as soon as possible. You can advise us by calling 1-800-959-8281, by sending us a letter or a completed Request for the Canada Revenue Agency to Update Records form. This form is included with our Information Sheet RC4111, Canada Revenue Agency - What to Do Following a Death.
To keep our records up to date, also send us the following information:
- a copy of the death certificate;
- a complete copy of the will or other legal document such as a grant of probate or letters of administration showing that you are the legal representative. The deceased individual's social insurance number (SIN) must be provided on any request or on any documents that you are sending to us; and
- the new mailing address of the estate.
If you are a family member of the deceased and you are unable to obtain the legal documents required to establish yourself as the legal representative, send a written request explaining your situation to the Taxpayer Representative Identification System (TRIS) Unit of the deceased’s tax centre.
Include this information with the final return if you did not send it right after the deceased's death.
You should also advise Service Canada of the deceased's date of death.
Under the Income Tax Act, as the legal representative, it is your responsibility to:
- file all required returns for the deceased;
- ensure that all taxes owing are paid; and
- let the beneficiaries know which of the amounts they receive from the estate are taxable.
As the legal representative, you are responsible for filing a return for the deceased for the year of death. This return is called the Final return.
You also have to file any returns for previous years that the deceased person did not file. If the person did not leave records about these returns, or if you cannot tell from existing records whether or not the returns were filed, contact us at 1-800-959-8281. If you have to file a return for a year before the year of death, use a T1 General Income Tax and Benefit Return for that year. Previous year returns are available on our website, or by calling 1-800-959-8281.
You have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return, for income of the estate earned after the date of death. If the terms of a trust were established by the will or a court order in relation to the deceased individual's estate under provincial or territorial dependant relief or support law, you also have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return for that trust. You may not have to file a T3 return (not to be confused with the final return, which always has to be filed) if the estate is distributed immediately after the person dies, or if the estate did not earn income before the distribution. In these cases, you should give each beneficiary a statement showing his or her share of the estate. See the T4013, T3 Trust Guide, for more information and, where a trust is created, to determine whether that return has to be filed. See Chart 2 to find out what income to report on the T3 return.
Under proposed changes, for 2016 and future years, where a beneficiary of an alter ego trust, spousal or common-law partner trust, or the last surviving beneficiary of a joint spousal or common-law partner trust dies, there is a deemed year end of the trust on the date of death of the beneficiary. All the income of the trust for that year must be included in the income reported on the beneficiary's final T1 return.
Under proposed changes, for 2016 and future years, where the primary beneficiary of a spousal and common-law partner trust or similar trust dies, the income that is deemed to be recognized upon the death of the primary beneficiary will be taxed inside the trust.
However, in the case of a testamentary spousal or common-law partner trust, a joint election can be filed to report this income in the beneficiary's final return. This income would include amounts reported on a T3 slip for the trust where the trust has designated all or part of it as income of the beneficiary. For the joint election to be valid all the following requirements must be met:
- Immediately before death, the beneficiary was a resident of Canada.
- The trust is a testamentary trust that is a post-1971 spousal or common-law partner trust and was created by the will of a taxpayer who died before 2017.
- The trust and the beneficiary’s graduated rate estate (GRE) jointly elect in a prescribed form.
- A copy of the joint election is filed with both the final T1 return of the beneficiary and the T3 return for the deemed year end of the trust.
As the legal representative of the deceased beneficiary, you need to attach to the final return the joint election in the form of a letter which contains:
- the T1 and T3 account numbers;
- the income amount that was allocated in the T3 slip and reported on the T1 return of the deceased beneficiary; and
- the signatures, names and addresses of both the trustee and the executor for the deceased beneficiary.
If you would like to have online access to the taxpayer’s account, you can register for Represent a Client prior to sending a copy of the legal documents. Once you have registered with the Represent a Client service, make sure to provide your RepID when you are submitting all the required documents naming you as the legal representative.
As the legal representative, you may need information from the deceased person's tax records. Before we can give you this information, we need the following:
- a copy of the death certificate;
- the deceased's social insurance number; and
- a complete copy of the will or other legal document such as a grant of probate, trust agreement, or letters of administration showing that you are the legal representative.
When you write for such information, include the words "The Estate of the Late" in front of the deceased person's name. Include your address so that we can reply directly to you. Send this information to your tax services office or tax centre.
Forms and publications
- Information Sheet RC4111, Canada Revenue Agency - What to Do Following a Death
- Guide T4011, Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons
- T4013, T3 Trust Guide
- T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return
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