How to File an Estate Income Tax Return for Canada

by Catherine Lovering ; Updated July 27, 2017
An estate income tax return in Canada is separate from a deceased's final return.

Items you will need

  • Death certificate
  • Proof of legal representative
  • Photo ID with signature
  • Social insurance number of the deceased

Filing an income tax return for a deceased person's estate requires status as the estate's legal representative, as well as knowledge of the deceased's tax information from previous years. The tax information can be obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency when the correct documentation is provided. A return can then be filed for the estate, and is a separate return from the deceased's final return.

Step 1

Establish that you are the legal representative of the deceased person. You are the legal representative if you are named as executor in the will, the court appoints you as administrator of the estate or you are the liquidator of the estate in Quebec.

Step 2

Establish if the estate earned any income after the deceased person's death. If it did not, or if the estate was dispersed immediately following the deceased person's death, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not require that you file an income tax return for the estate. In this case, give each beneficiary a statement of his share of the estate.

Step 3

Obtain the deceased person's tax information from the Canada Revenue Agency. Make an appointment to see a Canada Revenue Agency agent to do this or mail for the information, including the person's death certificate, social insurance number, and a copy of the legal paperwork that confirms you are the legal representative of the estate. If you write for the information, include the words "The Estate of the Late" in front of the deceased person's name. If you meet with an agent, you will be asked to produce personal identification in addition to the deceased person's paperwork.

Step 4

Complete the T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return following the guide on the Canada Revenue Agency website. Contact the CRA with any questions you have about completion and submit the return to the agency.


  • Complete a final return for the deceased individual as well, which is a separate return than the one completed for the deceased's estate.

About the Author

Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).

Photo Credits

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