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In his blog on December 4, 2014, David Mills warned estate trustees in Ontario that a new responsibility would be added to their plates beginning in the new year: an Estate Information Return. The Estate Information Return requires estate trustees to provide information that substantiates the amount of estate administration tax that was paid when applying for the Certificate of Appointment.

January 1st has come and gone, and the provincial government has finally provided further guidance to estate trustees regarding this new reporting requirement.

The government has published a guide to completing the Estate Information Return, setting out when a Return is required, what needs to be disclosed, and how it is to be filed.

The initial Estate Information Return must be filed within 90 days after a Certificate of Appointment is issued – however, the Return only needs to be filed if the application for the Certificate was made on or before January 1, 2015. The government appears has relaxed the timeline for filing the return from the initial draft regulations, which would have required the Return to be filed within 30 days of the issuance of the Certificate.

The Guide helps estate trustees determine what they need to report. While estate trustees do not need to include supporting documentation with the Return, they must retain those documents in the event that their Return is audited.

Estate trustees who fail to file a Return, or who make false or misleading statements on the Return, may liable for a fine of at least $1,000 and up to twice the tax payable by the estate, or imprisonment of up to two years.

Anyone who has applied or will be applying for a Certifcate of Appointment after January 1st 2015 should read the Guide carefully to ensure that they are fulfilling all their responsibilities as estate trustee.

A fillable version of the Estate Information Return can be found here: http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetFileAttach/9955E~1/$File/9955E.pdf

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