COVID-19: Update on Relief Measures for Individuals
Nine weeks after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is looking forward to getting back to regular daily activities. In the meantime, we all need to be patient, resilient, vigilant and flexible.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the tax authorities have put in place several measures to support individuals and businesses. Because the measures are evolving so quickly, it might be time to take a look at some of the ones that you may find useful.
- The deadline for filing your tax returns has been deferred to June 1, 2020. If you or your spouse have self-employment income, the deadline is still June 15, 2020.
- However, the deadline for paying any amount due has been deferred to September 1, 2020.
- Instalment payments due June 15, 2020 may be postponed to September 1, 2020.
If you are entitled to a tax refund, it is to your benefit to file your returns quickly to get the amounts owed to you.
The tax authorities objective is to send notices of assessment and any refund within:
- Two weeks if you file online
- Eight weeks if you file on paper.
These periods only apply if you file your returns on time. Nevertheless, the coronavirus pandemic may have an impact on standard processing times. You can view the status of your tax returns at any time by going to the Revenu Québec and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) websites.
Collection activities for new debts have been suspended until further notice. Since May 2020, solidarity tax credit payments are generally not applied against an outstanding debt. This is a temporary relief measure and the termination date will be announced in the near future, as the situation evolves. It should be noted that debts for support payments are not covered by this relief.
Employment expenses related to teleworking due to COVID-19
An employer can reimburse up to $500 to an employee for the purchase of computer equipment for telework purposes, with no taxable benefit for the employee. However, if you do not have a refund from your employer, you can deduct some employment expenses, such as paper, ink cartridges, internet network use, and others. For more information on eligible employment expense, call us at 1-844-200-IMPO.
Financial assistance measures for individuals
A discussion on financial assistance measures would not be complete without referring to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). You may be aware that the federal government has announced an emergency response benefit to assist Canadians affected by COVID-19. This benefit provides for a $2,000 payment for a four-week period (equivalent to $500 per week). You may re-apply for up to a total of 16 weeks.
- Have not already applied for unemployment insurance
- You have stopped working due to COVID-19
- Have earned at least $5,000 before tax in the past 12 months
- Reside in Canada and are at least 15 years of age.
- The CERB is a taxable benefit. Individuals who receive this benefit must report it in their 2020 tax return along with all other income earned. The CRA will issue T4 slips to all Canadians who have received any payments, including the CERB.
- While it may be easy to receive this benefit, not everyone is eligible. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria before applying. Individuals who apply without meeting these criteria will be required to reimburse any amounts received.
Evidenly, the CERB is just one example of many financial assistance options available. Other examples include the increase in the Canada Child Benefit, the Temporary Aid for Workers Program, among others. For more information on government assistance measures, you can go to raymondchabot.com, where you will find an overview of the programs and essential information.
Any concerns? Contact us at 1-844-200-TAXO. Our team will be more than glad to assist you. Serving you is our priority!
We look forward to helping you file your tax returns!
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