NSI Accounting & Financial Services

NSI Accounting - Tax on Foreign Inheritance Blog


So, the obvious question is: What are the slabs of Tax on Foreign  Inheritance in Canada? Let’s discuss everything.

In an increasingly globalized world, it’s common for individuals to have assets and connections in multiple countries. This can extend to inheritance, where beneficiaries may receive assets from a foreign estate. 

If you’re a Canadian resident and have received a foreign inheritance, it’s essential to understand how it may be taxed in Canada. The taxation of foreign inheritances depends on several factors, including the nature of the income earned by the foreign estate and whether it’s taxed at the trust level or in the hands of beneficiaries.


Taxation at the Trust Level:

When the income earned by the foreign estate is taxed at the trust level, Canadian relatives of the deceased person who receive a foreign inheritance will generally not be subject to Canadian taxation on those funds. This is because the tax liability falls on the estate itself, and beneficiaries are shielded from additional taxes in Canada.


Taxation in the Hands of Beneficiaries:

Conversely, if the estate’s income ‘flows through’ the estate and is taxed in the hands of the beneficiaries, Canadian family members of the deceased person may be liable to pay Canadian tax on the foreign inheritance they receive. This tax liability can significantly impact the amount beneficiaries ultimately receive.


Foreign Estate Taxation:

In most cases, the foreign estate of the deceased person is responsible for paying taxes in the country where it is located. For example, if the foreign estate is in Nigeria, it is subject to Nigerian taxation. In such cases, Canadian family members of the foreign estate typically won’t face inheritance tax in Canada.

Determining Foreign Tax Payments:

To determine whether a foreign estate has paid taxes in its home country, it’s essential to review trust returns, trust deeds, official executors’ resolutions, and the deceased person’s will. This examination helps establish the tax status of the estate and its impact on Canadian beneficiaries.

Reporting to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):

Receiving a foreign inheritance triggers certain reporting requirements with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Foreign Inheritance Received over $10,000:

Financial institutions are obligated to report to the CRA any foreign fund transfers of $10,000 or more. The CRA may request additional information regarding the source of the funds and their origin. Beneficiaries must be prepared to provide supporting documents that clarify the non-residency status of the estate and the tax treatment of distributions.

Foreign Income Verification Statement:

If the distributions from the estate are not taxable in Canada due to the taxation structure of the foreign estate, these distributions do not need to be reported on your T1 personal tax return. This relieves beneficiaries from the obligation to file Form T1135, the Foreign Income Verification Statement.

Form T1142-tax-planning

Form T1142 – Information Return: Instead, beneficiaries will need to file Form T1142 – Information Return in Respect of Distributions from and Indebtedness to a Non-Resident Trust. This form is used to report any distributions (i.e., inheritance) received from the foreign estate of the deceased relative. It should be filed when beneficiaries ultimately receive distributions from the trust.

Filing Deadline:

For example, if you received a foreign inheritance in 2014, you must file Form T1142 by April 30, 2015, coinciding with your 2014 personal tax return’s due date.

Penalties for Non-Compliance:

It’s crucial to adhere to these reporting requirements, as failure to file Form T1142 can result in penalties of up to $2,500 per year. To avoid these penalties and ensure compliance, beneficiaries should work closely with tax professionals who specialize in international tax matters.


Receiving a foreign inheritance can be a complex matter, with potential tax implications both in Canada and abroad. It’s essential to understand the taxation rules, reporting requirements, and exemptions associated with foreign inheritances to make informed decisions and ensure compliance with Canadian tax laws. 

Seeking professional guidance, especially from experts well-versed in international tax matters, can help navigate this intricate terrain and maximize the benefits of your foreign inheritance while minimizing tax liabilities.

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