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Tax of Gifts & Inheritances

Question: A Canada Revenue Agency website states that “You do not have to include certain amounts in your income, including the following: . . . MOST gifts and inheritances.” Could you please give me some examples of when you DO have to include an inheritance or gift in your income, or give me a recommendation on where I can look for that information? Thank you for your help.

When a person passes away they are deemed to have sold all of their possessions right before they died.  The deceased’s executor must file a final income tax return for that individual and include any gains and income earned to death.  Once the income tax is paid the estate can then distribute the asset to the beneficiaries tax free.

If the deceased named beneficiaries directly on a registered account such as a RRIF, RRSP, or TFSA those beneficiaries would receive the full value of the registered account.  The value of those accounts are still included in income of the deceased and if there is insufficient assets to pay the tax bill, the CRA may collect tax in proportion to the amount of registered asset received from the beneficiaries.

Similarly, if the estate does not pay all of its taxes and the CRA reassess the estate, the CRA may collect the outstanding tax from the beneficiary.