All About Estates

What to do when a loved one dies?

Believe it or not, this is the title of a recent release from the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”). Is there really a softer side to the CRA?

Let’s face there is a lot to do after a loved one dies, and a lot of it not related to tax. But from experience, it does not take long for the subject to come up, which reminds me of the time I was approached by a family member while I was trying to get a few moments of silence over a deceased’s casket at a wake. A story for another time perhaps!

Anyway, the CRA just published a useful checklist of what to do related to taxes and tax filings – some of the highlights are:

  1. Gather all of the deceased’s tax information as soon as you can, (particularly before premises and belongings are disposed of).
  2. Notify CRA of the date of death by calling them or complete Information sheet RC4111 What to do Following Death
  3. Request that CRA stop benefit and credit payments such goods and services tax and working income tax benefit payments, if applicable. This will eliminate the need to refund these payments at a later date.
  4. Advise Service Canada of the date of death – this stop CPP, OAS and GIS payments if applicable.
  5. Get yourself named as the legal representative, if applicable or get in touch with the legal representative as soon as possible.
  6. If you are the legal representative you can refer the same information sheet noted above or Guide T4011 Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons to assist with filing out the final tax return. It will deal with due dates, (removing some of the anxiety with the completing the process), how to report income after death etc.

This might appear to be basic stuff. Some of this may be handled by people you have engaged to assist you with post-mortem services. But, at the very least, this will assist you with getting control of the process which is often a source of comfort to folks during the grieving period.

Happy Reading

About Steven Frye
Baker Tilly WM LLP is a leading, independent audit, tax, and business advisory firm based in Vancouver and Toronto, serving clients across Canada. Drawing on well-trained teams across a variety of disciplines, we ensure the alignment of our professional’s skills and experience with client requirements, resulting in exceptional service and business outcomes.

1 Comment

  1. Larry D. Amstutz

    February 20, 2018 - 6:48 pm

    I don’t think that you can attach a “softer side” to an organization… including CRA; although you can apply this to specific individuals working for an organization.

    About 7 years ago my father passed away and I became an Executor for the first time. My fathers estate was quite simple; the only major asset was his home. It was this asset that caused an individual at CRA to act inappropriately. When his home could not be sold over a reasonable time (depressed market in his community), one of my sisters purchased the home… at market value.

    The CRA representative instantly made the decision that I had acted inappropriately by selling at a reduced rate. In spite of independent market assessments, she dug her feet in. In fact she disallowed all home improvement costs made to bring the home up to standards to put it on the market.

    I had to file a number of complaints and eventually had her decision overturned. Unfortunately, this caused the estate administration to be prolonged for a whole year longer than should have been necessary; the end results was much more stress on myself (remember, I had lost my father and was grieving as well as wanting to complete my responsibilities) and in delaying distribution of his assets to beneficiaries.

    Yes… I eventually found individuals with a softer side who listened, empathized, understood, and helped me have the ruling reversed (they do work there!). Sadly, I had to first overcome a CRA representative who was the opposite of caring.

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