How are gifts claimed for deceased individuals?

Proposed changes

For charitable donations made when an individual dies after 2015, the donation of property will be deemed to have been made by the estate at the time the property is transferred to a qualified donee. For transfers of eligible property within the first 36 months after the individual’s death, the estate will have the flexibility of allocating the donation to the tax year of the estate in which the donation is made, to a previous tax year of the estate, or to the last or next-to-last tax year of the individual.

To calculate the charitable tax credit for gifts made before the date of death and gifts made by will, use line 349 (Donations and gifts) of the individual’s final T1 income tax and benefit return. 

Where supported by official receipts, eligible amounts of the following gifts may be claimed in the deceased individual’s final return:

  • gifts that the deceased, or his or her spouse or common-law partner, made before the date of death;
  • gifts bequeathed in the will;
  • the unclaimed portion of any gifts made in the five years before the year of death; and
  • gifts of proceeds distributed directly from an RRSP (including a group RRSP), RRIF, or life insurance policy where the qualified donee is the designated beneficiary. This does not apply if the qualified donee is a policyholder under the life insurance policy or is the assignee of the life insurance policy.

One of the following amounts can be claimed, whichever is lower:

  • the eligible amount of the gift(s); or
  • 100% of the deceased’s net income (line 236).

If the eligible amount of the gifts exceeds the net income of the deceased individual in the year of death, you may be able to adjust the deceased’s return for the preceding year to include the unused part of these gifts (up to 100% of the deceased’s net income for that year).

For more information, see Guide T4011, Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons.

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