Calendar Year

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While due dates for most executor tasks are calculated in relation to the decedent's date of death, certain tax-related tasks are instead due in relation to the calendar year ... and thus may occur early or late in the overall estate settlement process.

Decedent Income Tax Returns

An executor is responsible for filing personal income tax returns for the decedent.

The final personal return is normally due on April 30 of the year following the death, but if the decedent died in the last 2 months of the year (i.e., November or December), the final return is not due until 6 months after the date of death.

If the decedent had not yet filed tax returns for any years prior to his or her death (imagine that he or she died on January 15 and didn't get around to it yet), then you are responsible for filing those previous year returns as well, by their normal due dates. This may mean you have very little time, or in some cases, that the deadline has already passed and penalties may already be owed.

See Paying Taxes for more information.

Annual Estate Income Tax Returns

An estate must file a T3 return every year, normally by March 31 (covering activity during the prior calendar year).

In the first year, you only count income from the day after the date of death, when the estate comes into existence. In subsequent years, of course, you count all estate income generated during that entire calendar year.

See Paying Taxes: Annual Income Tax for important details and exceptions.

Annual T4 Slips

If an estate employs anyone, it will need to deduct CPP and income taxes from related payments, submit those deducted amounts to the CRA, and deliver T4 slips by February 28 of the year following the payments. While you may initially think that this rule will be irrelevant for your estate, note that executor compensation falls into this category, and thus if you plan to pay executor fees, you will need to consider the estate the "employer", and follow the steps described in CRA: Employer's Guide (Publication T4001).

Annual Property Taxes

If an estate contains real property, you must pay any relevant property taxes until the property is either sold or distributed to the heirs. Property taxes are often due in two installments during the calendar year; due dates vary widely by jurisdiction.

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