Estate Administration Tax

Frequently Asked Questions

General information

Return filing requirements

Value of estate assets

Audits and assessments

More information


What is the estate administration tax?

The estate administration tax is imposed on the value of all the property that belonged to the deceased at the time of his or her death less the actual value of any encumbrance on real property that is included in the property of the deceased. It is a requirement under the Estates Act that this value be disclosed when the estate representative files an Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with the Superior Court of Justice. The estate administration tax must be paid as a deposit at this time.

Cheques for paying the estate administration tax are made payable to the Minister of Finance.


Is estate administration tax the same as an inheritance tax?

No. The estate administration tax is paid by the estate and is based on the value of the estate.

Inheritance tax is a tax imposed on someone who inherits property or money from the deceased's estate (i.e., the beneficiaries). Ontario does not impose an inheritance tax.

The estate administration tax is payable only if an estate certificate is issued by the court.

In Ontario, the estate administration tax has been imposed on estates that receive estate certificates since 1998. Before 1998, this tax existed in Ontario as probate fees for many decades.


Who is an estate representative?

An estate representative is the person(s) and/or corporate entity who has(have) taken on the role of executor or has(have) been appointed as an administrator by the court.


What is a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee?

A Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is a document issued by the court that:

  • proves the authority of the estate trustee to administer the provisions of the deceased's will, if there is a will and the estate trustee is named in the will, or
  • appoints someone and gives them the authority as estate trustee to manage and distribute the estate of a person who either died intestate (without a will) or where the executor named in the will is unable or unwilling to act.

Refer to the sample Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will.


How can I calculate the estate administration tax?

The tax is calculated as follows:

  • $5 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the first $50,000 of the value of the estate, and
  • $15 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the value of the estate exceeding $50,000.

There is no estate administration tax payable if the value of the estate is $1,000 or less.

For more information, refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.


Who is required to file an Estate Information Return?

Anyone who applies for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee on or after January 1, 2015, must file an Estate Information Return with the Ministry of Finance. An Estate Information Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days after an estate certificate is issued by the courts. This requirement does not apply to anyone who applied for but was not issued a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.

For more information, refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.


What if there is more than one estate representative of the deceased person?

The estate representatives have a responsibility to ensure that an Estate Information Return is submitted to the Ministry of Finance and each representative must sign the certification section attesting that the information provided in the return is true, correct and complete.


Do I need to file an Estate Information Return?

If an estate representative makes an application for an estate certificate, an Estate Information Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days after the issuance of the estate certificate. However this requirement does not apply to anyone who applied for the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee prior to January 1, 2015.

It also does not apply to anyone who has received one of the following:

  • a Certificate of Appointment of Succeeding Estate Trustee with a Will
  • a Certificate of Appointment of Succeeding Estate Trustee with a Will Limited to the Assets Referred to in the Will
  • a Certificate of Appointment of Succeeding Estate Trustee without a Will
  • a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee During Litigation.

What if I’m applying for a subsequent estate certificate, without payment of tax?

In the case where a Certificate of Ancillary Appointment of an Estate Trustee with a Will has been issued, and the Estate Trustee is no longer able and willing to act, the estate representative might apply for a subsequent Certificate of Ancillary Appointment of an Estate Trustee with a Will. If the estate administration tax was paid at the time the original application was made, there is no need to provide an Estate Information Return on the subsequent application - if there is no change in the assets of the estate, and no additional estate administration tax was paid.


What if I do not file an Estate Information Return?

Estate representatives who fail to file an Estate Information Return as required, or who make false or misleading statements on the return, may be found guilty of an offence and, on conviction, are liable to a fine of at least $1,000 and up to twice the tax payable by the estate, or imprisonment of not more than two years, or both.


Will the estate representative be required to file information relating to estate certificates which were applied for prior to January 1, 2015?

No. The requirement that estate representatives complete and file Estate Information Returns with the Ministry of Finance came into effect for Applications for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee made on or after January 1, 2015. It does not apply retroactively. Anyone who applies for an estate certificate before January 1, 2015 is not required to file the Estate Information Return, regardless of the date on which he or she is issued an estate certificate.


What if the total value of the estate is not known when applying for an estate certificate?

If the total value of the estate is not known at the time you applied for an estate certificate, you must provide an estimated value and give an undertaking to the court to return with the actual value of the estate. An Estate Information Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days of the issuance of the estate certificate and an amended Estate Information Return showing the actual value of the estate must be received by the ministry within 30 calendar days of fulfilling the undertaking.

For more information, refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.


I received a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee after having filed an affidavit and paid the estate administration tax based on an estimated value of the estate. Do I need to file an Estate Information Return?

If you estimated the value of the estate when applying for an estate certificate, and gave an undertaking to the court to return with the actual value subsequently ascertained of the estate, you must provide the Ministry of Finance with at least two information returns:

  • The initial Estate Information Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days of the issuance of the estate certificate. This return should include estimated values for any assets for which a final value is not yet available. You must attach a copy of the undertaking to this return.
  • An amended Estate Information Return, showing the final value of the estate, details of the fulfillment of the undertaking and any additional tax paid, must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 30 calendar days of fulfilling the undertaking.

For more information, refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.


Do I need to provide supporting documents on the value of the estate (e.g., property appraisals, bank statements, receipts) when filing the Estate Information Return?

You must provide supporting documents where indicated on the Estate Information Return. Otherwise, keep all supporting documents in case we ask to see them at a later date.

Estate representatives should be able to substantiate asset valuations. Depending on the type of asset, valuation may be complicated, and a professional valuator with expertise in a particular area may assist in obtaining a value.


Other than information that is provided to the courts, what additional information is the estate representative required to provide to the Ministry of Finance?

For estate representatives applying for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee on or after January 1, 2015, an Estate Information
Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days after an estate certificate is issued by the courts. This requirement does not apply to anyone who applied for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee prior to January 1, 2015.

Information about the deceased and the estate representative is to be included on the Estate Information Return together with a list and description of all of the assets of the estate.


How do I amend an Estate Information Return if I filed incorrect or incomplete information about the total value of the estate?

If, within four years of the issuance of an estate certificate, an estate representative becomes aware that any information given to the Ministry of Finance on an Estate Information Return is incorrect or incomplete, an amended Estate Information Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 30 calendar days of the estate representative becoming aware that the information is incomplete or inaccurate. To file an amended return, the estate representative must complete an Estate Information Return and check the box 'Is this an Amended Return?' The estate representative must also provide an explanation as to why the return is being amended. In certain circumstances, the estate representative may send a letter setting out the corrected information, together with an explanation, rather than filing an amended return.

If property is subsequently discovered, an amended return for inaccurate or incomplete information is not due. Instead, an amended Information Return setting out the subsequently discovered property and its fair market value must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 30 calendar days after the statement is delivered to the court. Refer to FAQ - What do I do if I find additional property of the estate after the issuance of the estate certificate?

For more information, refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.

Note: If an estate representative becomes aware of incorrect or incomplete information after four years has passed since the estate certificate was issued, there is no requirement to file an amended Estate Information Return. The four‑year period is not extended following the issuance of a revised or succeeding estate certificate.


What do I do if I find additional property of the estate after the issuance of the estate certificate?

If, after receiving an estate certificate, an estate representative discovers additional property owned by the deceased, a statement disclosing the subsequently‑discovered property must be filed with the court within six months of the discovery. An amended Estate Information Return setting out the subsequently discovered property and its fair market value must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 30 calendar days after the statement is delivered to the court.


What assets are included in calculating the estate administration tax if I received a Certificates of Appointment of Estate Trustee (with a Will or without a Will), and how is their value determined?

All assets in which the deceased had an interest at the time of his or her death should be included, except:

  • real estate outside Ontario
  • assets that are owned jointly with another person and passing by survivorship
  • assets that pass outside the estate, for example, RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs and life insurance policies where there is a living named beneficiary
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit.

Values should be based on the fair market value of the assets as at the time the deceased died.

The actual value of any encumbrance (e.g., mortgages) on real property must be deducted when calculating the value of the estate. If the deceased had a line of credit registered against his land in the amount of $200,000, but the total debt owing at the date of death was $15,000, the actual amount owing on the line of credit at the date of death ($15,000) is the value of the encumbrance.

Encumbrances against any assets other than real estate cannot be deducted from the value of the assets (e.g., car loans).

For more information, refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.


I received a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will Limited to the Assets Referred to in the Will. What assets are included in calculating the estate administration tax?

Only those assets referred to in that specific will are to be used in the calculation of the value of the estate.


What assets are included in calculating the estate administration tax if I received, a Confirmation by Resealing of Appointment of Estate Trustee, a Certificate of Ancillary Appointment of an Estate Trustee with a Will, or a Certificate of Appointment of Foreign Estate Trustee’s Nominee as Estate Trustee without a Will?

Only those assets that are located in Ontario are to be used in the calculation of the estate administration tax.


Where can I get help in obtaining an appraisal of the estate assets?

For information about real property appraisals and how to find a real estate appraiser, contact the Appraisal Institute of Canada at:

Appraisal Institute of Canada
403-200 Catherine Street
Ottawa Ontario CANADA K2P 2K9
Tel: 613 234‑6533
Fax: 613 234‑7197
Toll free: 1 888 551‑5521
info@aicanada.ca
www.aicanada.ca

Or, contact the Appraisal Institute of Canada – Ontario Association at: Tel: 416 695‑9333
info@oaaic.on.ca

For information about personal property appraisals and how to find a personal property appraiser, visit the Canadian Association of Personal Property Appraisers' website at: www.cpa-cappa.com.


Can I use the property assessment notice from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in determining the value of real property owned by the deceased at the time of his or her death?

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is responsible for valuation of most property in Ontario. The value of property as determined by MPAC may assist in determining the value of the property but may not represent the fair market value on the date of death.

In order to determine the fair market value of real estate it may be necessary to have the property appraised. Refer to FAQ - Where can I get help in obtaining an appraisal of the estate assets?


How do I determine the value of securities or derivatives that are not widely traded?

You may need to engage a professional with expertise in this area to assist in determining the value of certain investments (e.g., securities, derivatives).


Is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit included in the value of the estate for estate administration tax purposes?

Canada Pension Plan may provide a death benefit if the deceased worked and paid into the Plan. Death benefits received under the Canada Pension Plan, after the deceased's date of death, are not included in the total value of the estate for estate administration tax purposes.


Are Registered Pension Plans (RPPs), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) subject to estate administration tax?

Yes, RPPs, RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs are included in the value of the estate of the deceased for purposes of calculating estate administration tax. However, RPPs, RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs with a beneficiary designation or beneficiary declaration which pass directly to that beneficiary and not through the estate are not subject to estate administration tax.


What happens to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) if the subscriber of the plan dies?

For joint RESP subscribers (only a spouse can be a joint subscriber), the surviving spouse would continue managing the plan. The RESP would not be included in the deceased's estate for purposes of calculating estate administration tax.

If an RESP owner dies without a successor subscriber, that part of the RESP that the subscriber is entitled to becomes part of the estate. It does not belong to the RESP beneficiary. In this case, that part of the RESP that the subscriber is entitled to is included in the value of the deceased's estate.

RESPs differ from RRSPs, Registered Retirement Income Funds, and insurance policies because RESPs are not covered by Ontario's beneficiary designation provisions in the Succession Law Reform Act, absent a joint RESP subscriber, the value of the RESP is included in the deceased owner's estate and is subject to estate administration tax.


What is a beneficiary designation?

There are a number of assets for which people can designate a beneficiary outside of a will. A beneficiary designation is the method of transferring property to a beneficiary upon a person's death. With a beneficiary designation, property transfers to the designated beneficiary outside the deceased's estate. A beneficiary designation can be made in Ontario in respect of life insurance proceeds, death benefits relating to certain employee plans including pension and pension death benefits and certain other registered plans (e.g., registered retirement savings plans, registered tax free savings accounts).


What happens to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) if the beneficiary of the plan dies?

The RESP is owned by the subscriber(s) of the plan. Therefore, if the deceased is the beneficiary of an RESP, there is no estate administration tax payable on the value of the RESP since it is not included in the estate of the deceased beneficiary.


What happens if the beneficiary of a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) dies?

RDSPs are different from Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs). With RESPs, the plan is actually an asset of the subscriber/contributor. The RDSP, however, is for the benefit of the beneficiary and any funds contributed into the plan as well as income earned on those contributions and on those grants and bonds paid into the plan become part of the beneficiary's estate when the beneficiary dies.

Upon the death of the beneficiary, all grants and bonds received in the 10 years preceding the beneficiary's death must be returned to the federal government. The remaining proceeds of the plan will pass to the beneficiary's estate and will be included in the total value of the estate when calculating the estate administration tax.


The deceased made a gift to a charity through his or her will. Is the value of the gift included in the deceased's estate for estate administration tax purposes?

The fair market value of all assets of the deceased, at the date of death, is to be included in the calculation of the value of the estate, even if some of those assets will be gifted to a charity or non‑profit.


Will the Ministry of Finance be making estate administration tax assessments or reassessments?

Yes. The ministry may assess or reassess an estate for estate administration tax within four years after the day the tax became payable. Refer to FAQ - What is the time limit for the Ministry of Finance to assess or reassess an estate information return?


What is the time limit for the Ministry of Finance to assess or reassess an Estate Information Return?

The Ministry of Finance may assess or reassess an estate for its tax payable within four years after the day the estate administration tax became payable. The tax became payable on the day the estate certificate was issued.

Despite the above, the Ministry of Finance may, at any time, assess or reassess an estate's tax payable upon establishing that any person has (1) failed to file the required information with the Ministry of Finance by the deadline or (2) made a misrepresentation through neglect, carelessness or wilful default, or committed fraud in supplying or omitting information regarding the estate.

Note: A deposit equal to the estate administration tax must be paid at the time the Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is filed with the courts. The estate administration tax itself is due on the date the estate certificate is issued and the deposit is applied, at that time, toward the estate administration tax that is payable. The four‑year limitation period begins immediately after the estate certificate is issued. The limitation period for making an assessment or reassessment is not extended following the issuance of a revised estate certificate.


What records am I required to keep and for how long?

You are required to keep, at your principal place of business or residence, records and books of account in support of all entries on the Estate Information Return.

The Ministry of Finance may assess or reassess an estate for its tax payable within four years after the day the estate administration tax became payable. The tax became payable on the day the estate certificate was issued. Therefore, you must keep the records and books of account for a minimum of four years after the estate certificate is issued.

Learn more about Retention/Destruction of Books and Records


What if the Ministry of Finance determines that the total value of the estate is greater than, or less than, the amount reported?

If there is a discrepancy in the total value of the estate assets and it is determined through audit that the estate administration tax was underpaid or overpaid, the Ministry of Finance will issue an assessment or reassessment notice within the timelines set out in the Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998.


Who is liable to pay tax arising from an audit assessment or reassessment?

The tax is imposed on the estate of the deceased person. The estate representative is responsible for remitting the tax to the Ministry of Finance in his, her or its representative capacity and not in his, her or its personal capacity.


What if I disagree with the assessment/reassessment of tax?

If you disagree with the assessment/reassessment, you may file a Notice of Objection with the Ministry of Finance, Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch. This will result in an independent, informal review of the assessment. Notice of Objection forms can be obtained from any Ministry of Finance Tax Office, or from the ministry website at ontario.ca/taxappeals. A Notice of Objection must be filed within 180 days from the day the Notice of Assessment was mailed to you.

Ministry of Finance
Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch
33 King Street West
PO Box 699, Stn A
Oshawa ON L1H 8S6

You can also telephone one of the following numbers:
Toll free: 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1 800 263‑7776

You may, prior to filing a Notice of Objection, contact the Compliance Branch of the Ministry of Finance to discuss any concerns to determine whether they can be resolved at that level.

Ministry of Finance
Compliance Branch
33 King Street West
PO Box 625
Oshawa ON L1H 8H9

For more information please refer to the Estate Information Return Guide.


Will the Ministry of Finance issue estate administration tax clearance certificates, similar to those issued by the Canada Revenue Agency, to certify that the estate will not be liable for any further tax?

There are currently no provisions in the Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998 that would allow the Ministry of Finance to issue a clearance certificate for estate administration tax.

Inquiries about the status of an estate administration tax account should be directed to the Ministry of Finance, Compliance Branch, 33 King Street West, PO Box 625, Oshawa ON L1H 8H9 or by calling 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297).


Are First Nations persons subject to estate administration tax?

Certain property situated on a reserve may be exempt from taxation. For questions about whether First Nations people are exempt from estate administration tax, please contact the Ministry of Finance, Compliance Branch, 33 King Street West, PO Box 625, Oshawa ON L1H 8H9 or by calling 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297).


Why have new estate administration tax compliance and verification activities and new reporting requirements been introduced?

The Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998 was amended in 2011 to include audit and inspection provisions and new reporting requirements. This was followed by Ontario Regulation 310/14, effective January 1, 2015, which specifies the information that must be reported to the Ministry of Finance. These new requirements will enhance compliance by integrating the collection of the tax by the Ministry of Attorney General with the audit and verification functions at the Ministry of Finance. This will also ensure the fair and effective enforcement of this tax. These changes do not affect the rates of the tax, nor the way that those rates are applied.


Where can I get further information about estates and how to apply for an estate certificate?

For more information about estates and applying for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee, please contact the Ministry of the Attorney General:

By mail
Ministry of the Attorney General
McMurtry-Scott Building
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2S9

Website at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca

E-mail attorneygeneral@ontario.ca

Telephone toll free: 1 800 518‑7901
Teletypewriter (TTY) toll free: 1 877 425‑0575
Telephone Toronto: 416 326‑2220
Teletypewriter (TTY) Toronto: 416 326‑4012

Fax 416 326‑4007


Where can I get more information about estate administration tax and filing an Estate Information Return?

For information about estate administration tax and the Estate Information Return filing requirements, please refer to the Estate Information Return Guide or contact the Ministry of Finance:

By mail or courier
Ministry of Finance
Compliance Branch
33 King Street West
PO Box 625
Oshawa ON L1H 8H9

Website at ontario.ca/finance

Telephone toll free: 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297)
Teletypewriter (TTY) toll free: 1 800 263‑7776


Where can I get information about preparing income tax returns for deceased persons?

You can contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1 800 959-8281 or visit their What to do when someone has died webpage.

Page: 3277  |