Tax Accounting on Death of a Taxpayer

Knowledge Bureau Certificate Courses

Categories: Succession & Estate Planning

Your Instructors: Walter Harder

PROGRAM: Tax Services Specialist, Succession and Estate Planning Specialist

Death is never timely yet it comes to at least 1% of the population each year. Advisors need to be able to help their clients minimize the income tax consequences before the event occurs. The advisor also requires technical expertise in filing the final return(s) of a deceased in order to ensure proper tax planning is arranged at time of death and for the ongoing planning activities of the survivors.


This course deals comprehensively with the taxation of individuals at death.  The student will gain a thorough understanding of how income as well as capital accumulations are taxed when the taxpayer dies as well as strategies to minimize those taxes.   Students will start with learning what government cheques may be retained and which must be returned.  They will learn how each type of income is taxed, on what returns the income is reported, and strategies to defer taxes where possible.  They’ll learn how to claim all deductions and credits that are allowed on each return, as well as how to minimize probate fees on assets transferred to beneficiaries.  True-to-life case studies involve preparation of tax returns for deceased taxpayers and their surviving spouses.  All known tax changes, including those that will come into effect in future are discussed in the Journal.


  • Understand death as a financial event and discuss its ramifications with clients
  • Spot potential income tax problems waiting in the wings for your client alongside the grim reaper
  • Ask better questions and bring value to the client relationship by identifying possible solutions to those problems
  • Identify and discuss creative tax strategies that take advantage of the opportunities presented by death, both in terms of personal and business finances
  • Preparation of all possible T1 returns in the year of death.
  • Identify opportunities for probate avoidance (applicable only in high probate jurisdictions)


Knowledge Net Tools: Students also have access to student versions of income tax software: TaxCycle, Intuit Profile, DTMax in preparing the case studies and their exam. In addition students will have access to EverGreen Explanatory Notes, the Knowledge Bureau's Gateway to publications from CRA and the Department of Finance, including the Income Tax Act, Interpretation Bulletins, Folios, Information Circulars and Pamphlets/Publications.


Quizzes 25%
Case Studies 50%
Final Exam 25%
Passing Grade 60%
Honours Achievement 90%


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1:
Death and Taxes
Chapter 2:
Returns in the Year of Death
Chapter 3:
Reporting Income
Chapter 4:
Capital Assets
Chapter 5:
Registered Accounts
Chapter 6:
Claiming Deductions
Chapter 7:
Non-Refundable Credits
Chapter 8:
Refundable Credits
Chapter 9:
The Estate
Chapter 10:
Avoiding Probate Fees

What Graduates Say

My objective in taking this course was to be able to promote myself as having the knowledge to prepare tax returns for the deceased. This objective was met as I did learn, and will remember, things I had never considered. The course makes you think of things you should be asking your clients. Arlene W., ON
I feel better equipped to deal with questions involving the death of a taxpayer as a result of doing the course. Notwithstanding the fact that I have been doing final returns for about ten years the course gave me some new insights and perspectives. My experience has been exclusively with "closed fact" situations, i.e. a taxpayer dies and his executor brings in his papers to do up a final return and if necessary an estate return. There are a few things that can be done to minimize taxes owing and the course points these out (for example, doing multiple returns might be an option in some cases) but the real value of the course is in setting out some strategies to deal with death before the event occurs. Martin H., ON
This is the second of my courses, and I am enjoying not only the format but the content. Very well done - thank you Brenda A.
My objectives were to learn more how to complete final and estate tax returns.  I got a better understanding of the different rules associated with final returns. Krystal H., SK