File Your Estate Information Return On Time
Under the new regulation to the Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998 (the “EATA“), effective January 1, 2015, estate trustees applying for certificates of appointment will need to file a new form, the Estate Information Return, with the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry has provided some information on the new rules regarding estate administration tax here.
Under s. 3(1) of the new regulation, an Estate Information Return must be filed no later than 90 days after an estate certificate is issued to the estate representative. S. 2 of the regulation provides that Estate Information Return is deemed to have been given to the Minister on the day on which it is received by the Minister. For this reason, it is advisable to file an Estate Information Return in a way that provides confirmation of the time of receipt (e.g. by fax).
An Estate Information Return will not be required where the application is for a certificate of appointment of succeeding estate trustee with a will, a certificate of appointment of succeeding estate trustee without a will, a certificate of appointment of succeeding estate trustee with a will limited to the assets referred to in the will, or a certificate of appointment of estate trustee during litigation.
An Estate Information Return can be filed by mail to:
Ministry of Finance, Advisory and Compliance Branch
33 King St. West
P.O. Box 625
Oshawa, ON L1H 8H9
An Estate Information Return can also be filed by fax to 1-866-888-3850. It can also be filed in person or by courier to the Ministry of Finance, 33 King St. West, Oshawa, ON, L1H 8H9. Some ServiceOntario locations may accept filing in person, as well.
The consequences of failing to file or of filing a false or misleading Estate Information Return can be quite severe. Under s. 5.1(1) of the EATA, it is an offence to fail to comply with s. 4.1, which requires the filing of an Estate Information Return. Under s. 5.1(2) of the EATA, it is an offence to make or assist in making a statement in filing an Estate Information Return that, at the time and in light of the circumstances under which it was made, is false or misleading in respect of any fact, or that omits to state any fact that the omission of which makes the statement false or misleading. An offence can be punishable by a fine of at least $1,000, imprisonment for a term of up to two years, or both.
There is a defense available under s. 5.1(3). “No person is guilty of an offence under subsection (2) if the person did not know that the statement or omission was false or misleading and in the exercise of reasonable diligence could not have known that the statement or omission was false or misleading.”
It is important to take the time to become familiar with the details of the new rules and forms. There are still a lot of open questions with respect to how the Ministry’s new auditing and enforcement powers will be used to collect estate administration tax, but it looks like the new Estate Information Return is here to stay.