Section 11 – Deceased Persons

Tax Returns

When a person dies, the legal representative is required to file tax returns for the year of death and any prior years for which the deceased had not filed a tax return, as applicable.

The legal representative may be able to elect to file more than one return for the year of death. Thus, in addition to the final return, there may be as many as two optional returns filed for a deceased taxpayer, being:

  • A rights or things return; and
  • A return reporting business income.

By filing multiple returns, income taxes on the deceased’s income may be reduced, or even eliminated in certain cases.

Filing of the Returns

Final Return

The deadlines for filing a final return and paying the balance owing vary depending on the date of death1.

Date of death Filing deadline Payment deadline
From January 1 to October 31 (or from January 1 to December 15 for persons in business)1 April 30 of the following year (or June 15 for persons in business)1 April 30 of the following year
From November 1 to December 31 (or from December 16 to December 31 for persons in business)1 Six months after the date of death

The filing deadline for the income tax return of a surviving spouse who lived with his or her deceased is the same as that applicable to the deceased’s final return. However, any balance due calculated in the surviving spouse’s return must be paid no later than April 30 of the following year to avoid paying interest.

Optional Returns

The filing dates for separate returns and the payment of any balances owing are the same as those for a final return, except for the rights or things return, for which the filing and payment deadlines are the later of:

  • One year following the date of death;
  • 90 days after the date a notice of assessment or reassessment is mailed in respect of the final return.

Prior Year’s Return

If a taxpayer dies after the end of the year but before the date for filing the tax returns (April 30 or June 15) and he/she has not filed a tax return for the year prior to the year of death, the legal representative has a maximum of six months after the date of death to file the return and pay any balance owing. On the other hand, if the person dies after April 30 (or June 15), no additional time is allowed for filing the return for the prior year and paying any balance owing. Interest and penalties, if any, will be charged  (see Section I).


1 If the deceased or his/her spouse carried on a business during the year of death.

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