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My wife died in April, 2011, and I am the administrator of her estate.

She worked until the day she died. I have had to submit a tax return for 2010 and will have to do so again for 2011. The procedure is described at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4011/README.html, at least for the final tax return. Because she died between January 1 and October 31, her final tax return is due on April 30, 2012, like most others in Canada.

My question is simply this. When is her employer required to send me her T4 - Statement of Remuneration Paid? Am I correct in assuming that it must be filed with the government, and sent to me, no later than the end of February, 2012?

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Sorry for your loss. You may wish to use the services of a professional. Filing a final return for a deceased person may not be straightforward if the estate is complex. Nevertheless, if you are comfortable learning what needs to be done, it isn't rocket science – and you've discovered already that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides some guidance. You can call them if questions come up during the process.

To answer your specific question:

Yes, you are correct that the employer is required, by law, to send out an employee's T4 slip no later than the last day of February the following year, or the next business day if the last day of February falls on a weekend.

However, in a case such as this, earnings can typically be known in advance of year end, and it is possible to get a T4 issued early. In fact, CRA has a guide for employers, Filing the T4 Slip and Summary (PDF) which suggests, on page 18:

If an employee leaves, we suggest you calculate the employee's earnings for the year to date and give the employee a T4 slip. Keep our [CRA's] copy of the slip and include it with your T4 Summary when you file it on or before the last day of February of the following year.

So, it is both permitted and feasible for your wife's employer to issue her final T4 early. If you contact your wife's company HR department to request that, I would hope and expect they would be understanding and helpful, considering the situation.

One more related tip, if you haven't done so already: Make sure any earnings or benefits owed to your wife's estate by the company (or their insurance plans) have been paid out, such as regular pay for the final pay period worked, quarterly profit sharing (if applicable), accrued but untaken vacation time (usually there is some), not-yet-reimbursed employment expenses (check her credit card statements, if she typically incurred work expenses), etc.

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