My spouse passed away this year, what do I need to do?

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult. Filing your taxes (and those of your deceased spouse) is the last thing on your mind. We’re here to help. 

What do I do first?

Be sure to inform Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec (if applicable) of the deceased’s date of death.

The CRA and Revenu Québec will need to stop the following payments that your spouse was receiving and, if applicable, will transfer them to you:

  • GST/HST credit
  • Working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments
  • Canada child benefit (CCB) payments for a child
  • Solidarity tax credit (Québec) 

Do I need to return benefit payments my spouse received after their death?

Yes. If the CRA and Revenu Québec issued benefit payments to your spouse after his or her death, you’ll need to return these payments to the government.

Do I need to file a tax return for my deceased spouse?

Yes, you’ll need to file a final tax return for your deceased spouse. Your spouse’s estate can only be distributed once the final return has been assessed (notice of assessment issued) and a clearance certificate received from the CRA or Revenu Québec confirming there are no taxes owing.

Depending on the date of your spouse’s death, you’ll need to file their tax return on or before the following dates:

When death occurred

Due date

January 1 to October 31

  • April 30 of the following year OR
  • June 15 of the following year if, your spouse carried on a business. 

 Note: Any tax owing is due on April 30. 

November 1 to December 31

  • 6 months after the date of death OR
  • June 15 of the following year if, your spouse carried on a business. 

 Note: Any tax owing is due within 6 months after the date of the death. 


Remember, interest and late filing penalties will apply if you file the tax return after the due date.

Note: The due date for filing your tax return is the same as the due date for filing your deceased spouse’s tax return. However, if you owe taxes, the outstanding amount still has to be paid on or before April 30 to avoid interest charges.

What do I need to know to file my deceased spouse’s return?

You’ll need to know your deceased spouse’s social insurance number (SIN) and income for the year from all sources. In this process, you might have to contact his or her employer(s), bank(s), pension plan administrator, stock broker or investment advisor, etc.

Can I file my deceased spouse’s tax return with H&R Block’s tax software?

Unfortunately, H&R Block’s tax software doesn’t support deceased T1 returns. However, you can visit an H&R Block retail office and one of our Tax Experts will be happy to help.  Keep in mind, you will have to prepare and file your and your deceased spouse’s returns separately. In addition, the tax return for the deceased can’t be filed via NETFILE – it has to be printed and mailed. 

Surviving spouse - things to know when filing your own return in H&R Block’s tax software

While you won’t be able to file your deceased spouse’s return with H&R Block’s tax software, you can NETFILE your own return with the software. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Select the correct marital status and enter your spouse’s date of death. To do this:

    1. If you’re carrying forward your information from last year or are preparing your return with H&R Block’s tax software for the first time, change or select your marital status as “Widowed”. You can do that on the Your family page under the ABOUT YOU icon on the PREPARE tab.

    2. Respond Yes to the question Did your marital status change in 2018? on the Your family page.

    3. On the same page, enter your spouse’s date of death in response to the question When did your spouse pass away?.

  • If you and your spouse had to live apart due to medical reasons before your spouse’s death, respond Yes to the related question on the Your family page. Depending on your province of residence, both you and your deceased spouse might be able to claim certain credits without having to split them.
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