All About Estates

Paper vs. Electronic Filing of Estate Information Returns!

Today’s blog was written by guest bloggers, Tracy Parkinson and Krista Brown, law clerks in the Private Client Services group of Fasken LLP.

It’s hard to believe that we have been filing Estate Information Returns (the “EIR”) with the Ministry of Finance (the “Ministry”) since January 1, 2015, but if I start thinking about it, Ontario estates law has seen as much change in the last 4 or 5 years as there has been in the last 20.

The transition to preparing the EIR was a learning curve as well as painstaking for many of us as there was so much uncertainty.  One of the main issues that seemed to resonate until recently was that the Ministry provided no confirmation whatsoever that an EIR was in fact received by them.  The best we could hope for was that our fax machine successfully issued a fax confirmation sheet.  Imagine, lawyers could not obtain one shred of evidence from the Ministry to confirm that their client’s EIR was filed within the requisite time period established by the Ministry, or at all!  This, in light of the fact that if the EIR is not filed “on time” the assessment period goes on in perpetuity left people feeling, for lack of a better word, “gobsmacked”.

Thankfully, the Ministry’s procedures have progressed and the option of electronic filing was introduced.  Upon electronic submission of the EIR, the Ministry provides an e-mail to confirm receipt and provide a reference number.  The client also receives a similar e-mail.  Alas, the evidence we have all been waiting for!  If only we could request a comfort letter without triggering an audit…..I guess we can always dream. A redacted e-mail confirmation from the Ministry is included here.

The electronic EIR is similar to the paper version except that when filing on behalf of your client, the client must also sign an Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative form (the “Authorization Form”) which can be found in a link contained in the EIR.  The signed Authorization Form is then uploaded to the EIR.  The EIR signature page can also be found in a link contained in the EIR which must also be uploaded to the EIR.

Some of the changes effective January 1, 2020:

  • Use the new EIR forms where an application for a certificate of appointment was filed on or after January 1, 2020. As a reminder, use the old EIR forms where an application for a certificate of appointment was filed on or before December 31, 2019.
  • For estates valued at $50,000 or less, estate administration tax is no longer payable although an EIR still must be filed.
  • For estates valued over $50,000, estate administration tax is not payable on the first $50,000, but it is payable on the value of the estate over $50,000 and is calculated at $15 on every $1,000 (or part thereof).
  • EIR must be received within 180 calendar days after the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is issued (changed from 90 calendar days).
  • Where additional estate administration tax is paid, an amended EIR must be filed within 60 calendar days after the estate administration tax was paid (changed from 30 calendar days).

For additional information about these and other changes, please click here.

About Corina Weigl
Corina Weigl is a partner in the Trusts, Wills, Estates and Charities group at Fasken, a leading international law firm with over 650 lawyers and 9 offices worldwide that offers comprehensive estate planning, estate administration, personal tax planning, charitable giving and estate litigation services. Email: cweigl@fasken.com

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