How to file a T3 return

Filing a T3 return online

Trust administrators and their representatives can file their T3 return electronically through the Canada Revenue Agency’s Internet file transfer service.

Eligibility for online filing

Internet file transfer is available to most taxpayers and tax preparation service providers when a trust’s taxable income, tax payable, and refundable credits are $0.00. For more information on other T3 trust returns and documents available for electronic filing, see Submitting and filing documents online related to T3.

Restrictions for online filing

You cannot use Internet file transfer to file a trust return if:

  • The amount on line 56, line 84 or line 94 is greater than 0.00
  • The return is for a tax year that ends before 2017
  • The trust does not have a trust account number or cannot provide one in the electronic file
  • The trust is a specified investment flow-through trust (code 028)
  • The trust is subject to deemed dispositions on Form T1055 for the tax year
  • The trust is reporting:
    • gross-up amounts of dividends on line 49
    • reserves on Schedule T3SCH2 or in field 1170 of Schedule T3SCH1
    • capital gains on gifts of certain capital property on Schedule T3SCH1A
  • The trust is subject to minimum tax and has a net adjusted taxable income for minimum tax (field 12270 of T3, Schedule 12) that is greater than 0.00
  • The trust is filing Form RC199, Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) Taxpayer Agreement, or the taxpayer is making a request under the Voluntary Disclosures Program
  • The trust went bankrupt and is filing its pre- or post-bankruptcy return
  • The return is an amended tax return

Before you file online

Before filing with Internet file transfer, the trust’s identification information must be up to date. You cannot use Internet file transfer to change identification information, such as the trust’s:

  • name
  • legal representative (trustee/executor/administrator)
  • address for the legal representative
  • alternate mailing address, if different from the address for the legal representative
  • direct-deposit information (nor can direct deposit be requested)

Web access code

To file a trust return online using Internet file transfer, you will need a web access code (WAC). If you have a WAC that was issued to file your trust-related information returns, you can use that one. If you have misplaced or do not have a WAC, go to Web access code to use our online service. If you cannot access your WAC online or want to change it, call the Business Enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525.

Internet File Transfer

Online filing for trust returns is only available for 2017 and later tax years. Certain conditions must be met in order to file a trust return online, see Restrictions for online filing.

Steps in filing a T3 return online

  1. Download the schema or use your software to create and save your return in XML format. If your file size is more than 150 MB, you may have to send fewer returns per file.
  2. Make sure you have your web access code and your trust account number. If you do not have your web access code, you can get one at Web access code.
  3. To submit electronically, go to Internet file transfer (XML) .

Supporting documentation for online filing

What is required

Note

In this part, all elections, designations, agreements, waivers, and special elective returns are referred to as elections.

Only elections and Form T1135, Foreign Income Verification Statement, have to be sent if they apply to the return you filed. You do not have to send any other supporting document when filing online, even if it would be required when filing on paper. Keep all documents used to prepare a return, such as books, records, forms, schedules, and receipts for six years. Be ready to send your documents to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on request.

Some elections are made on CRA forms, while others are made by providing specific information in a letter or note. All elections, including supporting documentation for those elections, must be sent to the CRA in writing, unless otherwise indicated. For an election to be considered valid, the CRA must receive the election no later than the due date given in the Income Tax Act.

Where to send the documents

With the exception of Form T1135, all paper documentation to support elections should be sent to the tax centre that serves the area where the legal representative lives. Each election form and letter should include the trust’s name, representative’s name, address, and trust account number. A covering letter should also be included that indicates the documentation is in support of the trust’s electronically filed return. 

Send your completed Form T1135, Foreign Income Verification Statement, to the tax centre address shown on the form.

Filing a T3 return on paper

Where you file a T3 return depends on the address of the trustee. Generally, we consider a trust to reside where the trustee, executor, administrator, liquidator, or other legal representative who manages the trust or controls the trust’s assets lives. It is the jurisdiction in which the central management and control happens that will be considered in determining the residence of a trust. For more information, go to Where to file a T3 return.

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