With 6 weeks until the end of 2023, it is a good time to remind trustees of their obligations in respect of the trusts that they are responsible for managing and administering.
Last year, I wrote a blog where I reminded trustees of discretionary trusts of the importance of documenting income payment decisions before the end of the year.
Trustees should start considering what they plan on doing with the income derived from the trust assets for 2023 and begin to document their decision before the end of the year.
Trust Reporting Obligations
The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) is moving forward with implementing the new trust reporting obligations that had been proposed in the 2018 budget. As a reminder, all qualifying trusts or trust arrangements with a year end ending after December 30, 2023 must report the (i) name, (ii) address, (iii) date of birth (for individuals), (iv) jurisdiction of residence and (v) tax identification type, together with the tax identification number, for the following:
- the settlor;
- each of the trustees;
- any person who has the ability (through the terms of the trust or related agreement) to exert influence over the trustee’s decision with respect to the appointment of income or capital; and
- each of the beneficiaries.
CRA has finally published T3SCH15 – Beneficial Ownership Information of a Trust (the “Schedule”) which provides the form in which a trustee must provide the above information to the CRA with the T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return (“T3 Return”). Until the Schedule was published by CRA, advisors were uncertain as to how this information would be reported. Unfortunately, a separate Schedule will need to be prepared for each of the above.
Where beneficiaries are unable to be listed, Part C of the Schedule sets out that trustees must provide:
- the details of the terms of the trust that extends the class of beneficiaries to unknown entities
- relevant information regarding any beneficiaries that cannot be listed by name (i.e. unborn beneficiaries) because they are unknown at the time of filing the trust return
Part C further provides that if the beneficiaries of a trust are the members of an indigenous group, community or people, trustees are directed to the T3 Trust Guide for further information.
Filing Deadline for 2023
The deadline to file the T3 Return and the Schedule is 90 days from the trust’s year end. If the trust has a December 31 year end, for 2024, the deadline is March 30, 2024 (it’s a leap year next year). As March 30, 2024 falls on a Saturday, the T3 Return will be considered filed on time if it has been received by the CRA or if the trustee postmarks the package on or before April 2, 2024, as this is the next business day (April 1, 2024 is a Federal statutory holiday).
The 2023 T3 Trust Guide has not yet been released by the CRA to confirm the penalties that will be imposed but pursuant to Bill C-32, which received Royal Assent on December 15, 2022, under Section 163(6) of the Income Tax Act, for making a false statement or omission in respect of a T3 Return, “the amount of the penalty to which the person or partnership is liable under subsection (5) is equal to the greater of:
- $2,500, and
- 5% of the highest amount at any time in the year that is equal to the total fair market value of all the property held by the trust referred to in subsection (5) at that time.”
Don’t have a Trust Account Number?
It is possible where a trust did not have a requirement to file a T3 Return in the past years, that a trust account number has not been issued by CRA. If there is a requirement to file a T3 Return under the new trust reporting rules, it is important for the trustees to work with their advisor to request a trust account number before filing the T3 Return for the first time.
With the holiday season fast approaching, it would be prudent for trustees to start gathering information required for the Schedule so that they can ensure that they are meeting the filing deadline noted above. Take the opportunity at family functions this holiday season to gather the information needed on the Schedule.
 Exempt from the requirement to provide additional information are:
- mutual fund trusts, segregated funds and master trusts;
- trusts governed by registered plans (such as RDSPs, RESPs, RRIFs, RRSPs)
- lawyer’s general trust accounts
- graduated rate estates and qualifying disability trusts
- trusts that qualify as non-profit organizations or registered charities
- trusts that have been in existence for less than three months
- trusts that hold less than $50,000 in assets throughout the taxation year