In this paper, the impact of high-temperature annealing of 4H silicon carbide (SiC) on the formation of intrinsic defects, such as Z1/2 and EH6/7, and on carrier lifetimes was studied. Four nitrogen-doped epitaxial layers with various initial concentrations of the Z1/2- and EH6/7-centers (1011-1014cm-3) were investigated by means of deep level transient spectroscopy and microwave photoconductance decay. It turned out that the high-temperature annealing leads to a monotone increase of the Z1/2- and EH6/7-concentration starting at temperatures between 1600 °C and 1750 °C, depending on the initial defect concentration. In the case of samples with high initial defect concentration (1014cm-3) a distinct decrease in Z1/2- and EH6/7-concentration in the temperature range from 1600 °C to 1750 °C was observed, being consistent with previous reports. For higher annealing temperatures (Tanneal≥1750∘C), the defect concentration is independent of the samples’ initial values. As a consequence, beside the growth conditions, such as C/Si ratio, the thermal post-growth processing has a severe impact on carrier lifetimes, which are strongly reduced for samples annealed at high temperatures.