Your responsibilities as a trustee or executor of an estate may include completing the tax filings of the deceased and requesting tax clearance prior to the distribution of the estate in accordance with the will terms. Let’s say you find out that the deceased’s tax filings were not all up to date or incomplete and you have read about the possibility of tax penalties.
You may want to consider a submission under the Canada Revenue Agency’s Voluntary Disclosures Program where taxpayers are not charged penalties or prosecuted with respect to information provided in the disclosure provided the disclosure is considered valid. Of course, the taxpayer remains responsible for the tax and any arrears interest although the latter may be reduced in certain circumstances.
Generally speaking, for a disclosure to be considered valid it must be voluntary (not prompted by an audit or investigation), complete, must involve the application of a penalty, and generally must relate to information that is at least one year past due.
With governments looking for more and more ways to pad their revenues we should expect to see more and more activity on their parts to “smoke out” non-compliant taxpayers. Don’t get caught in the net and come forward with those missed or incomplete filings before it is too late.