Nelligan O'Brien Payne gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Samantha Lauzon, Wills and Estates Law clerk in writing this article.
Starting January 1, 2015, all estate administrators must complete, and file an Estate Information Return Form. The form must be filed within 90 calendar days after a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee has been issued. If the 90th day falls on a weekend, the due date is extended until the next business day. This only applies to all Certificates of Appointments that were issued after January 1, 2015. All forms are to be mailed in to the Ministry of Finance, Advisory and Compliance Branch, located at 33 King Street West, PO Box 625, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 8H9. Alternatively, the form can also be delivered in person, or couriered to the address indicated above.
A revised filing must be completed if the initial form submitted is incomplete or has incorrect information; if the initial form had estimated values used for estate assets; or if the estate administrator discovers property not included in the value of the estate, which was declared in the application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee. If filing a revised form, the form must be submitted to the Ministry of Finance within 30 calendar days of the estate administrator becoming aware of the value of the asset, which needs to be amended.
The Estate Administration Return Form is very detailed and requires specific information regarding estate assets. In Section A of the form, it asks for information regarding the issuance of the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee, such as, the type of Certificate of Appointment that was issued, the date it was issued, the court file number, the court location it was issued at, and if a deposit was paid based off of the value of the estate. Sections B and C, are where information pertaining to the Deceased and the estate administrator are submitted.
Section D is where information regarding real estate is entered. Specific information regarding the properties assessment roll number and property identifier number (PIN) are required, in addition to the municipal address and value of the property at the time of death.
Section E is applicable for all bank accounts that the deceased owned at the time of their death. The required information is the name of the financial institution, account number, address of the applicable branch, and balance in the account(s) as of date of death.
Section F is where all investments are to be listed. The estate administrator must list all information pertaining to all shares, stocks, bonds, and other investments. The estate administrator must confirm the name of the issuer, number of units (if applicable), account numbers, broker/agent name and address, and the fair market value as of date of death.
Section G is for listing all information pertaining to vehicles and vessels, including but not limited to motorcycles, boats, all-terrain vehicles, bicycles, snowmobiles, etc. Information that must be included is vehicle identification number (VIN), or hull serial number (HIN), make, model, year, and fair market value as of date of death.
Section H is for all other property. This may include household contents, art, jewelry, loans receivable, business interest, etc.
The last page of the form is where the estate administrator summarizes the total value of the estate, confirms the net amount of tax owing and certifies the amounts disclosed on the form is true, correct and complete.
Failure to file the required Estate Information Return can result in the estate administrator being found guilty of an offence. This may include a fine equal to an amount that is at least $1,000, but does not exceed twice the amount of tax payable by the estate for estate administration tax, or imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or both.
There is no requirement for an estate administrator to file an estate information return form if the application for Certificate of Appointment was submitted to the Court prior to January 1, 2015; if the Certificate of Appointment was never issued; or if the estate administrator is acting as a succeeding Estate Trustee (With a Will, Without a Will, Limited to Assets Referred to in the Will, or During Litigation). It is important to note that even estates that do not exceed $1,000, and are exempt from paying estate administration tax, are not exempt from the filing requirement for the estate information return.
What does this all mean for estate administrators? It means as an estate administrator you must be highly aware of the 90 day filing deadline, and ensure that your form is submitted. It also requires you to keep information pertaining to the estate assets even after they may be liquidated. The Minister of Finance can review any estate up to four (4) years after the date of issuance of the Certificate of Appointment.