In the month of March, we began to see significant changes in our lives and in our communities due to the coronavirus outbreak. Since March 18th the federal government has been making announcements, almost daily, offering measures to help us weather the storm. In these uncertain times, we want to ensure you have the accurate, up-to-date information you need to determine whether you, your family members or your business are eligible for the financial assistance available.
This has certainly been a very different tax season for us and although the office is still open, we’ve had to adapt to new ways of working to ensure the safety of our clients and our staff. We are not receiving visitors at this time and our team is practicing social distancing. However, we are still working hard to prepare your tax returns and finding new ways to support you. You can drop off your documents or send them in to us by email or securely through E-courier. I’m doing phone and secure Zoom meetings to discuss your tax returns and concerns. We have a curbside pick up for you to safely drop-off or collect your documents when your return has been completed.
The legislation behind many of these programs have been constructed in ways that allow the government to make quick modifications to criteria, amounts and timing. Further, over the next days and weeks, the specifics on some programs will be released. So be prepared for changes.
In order to obtain many of these benefits it is much easier if you have an account with CRA and are setup for direct deposit. Click the link to find out how.
I have detailed information on my website for further reading but the highlights are as follows, please click on the links for more comprehensive details if you think you qualify for one or more of the benefits:
Help for Individuals:
There are one-time enhanced payments for people receiving the GST/HST credit and the Canada Child Benefit.
Payment deadlines for income tax amounts are deferred to September 1st. They normally would have become due after March 18th 2020.
Income tax filing deadline extended to June 1st 2020, click here to find out more.
There are enhanced access EI sickness benefits that provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement.
$2,000 a month (CERB) for up to 16 weeks for individuals who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19 but are not eligible for EI. Income also includes non-eligible dividends paid to owner-managers and family members.
Canada’s large banks are offering debt support such as up to 6 months of mortgage payment deferral and reduced credit card interest rates.
Canadians abroad may be able to access a $5,000 loan to assist with returning home or to cover life-sustaining needs while abroad.
No interest-free moratorium on student loan balances between March 30th and September 30th 2020.
Minimum RIFF withdrawal for 2020 has been reduced by 25%.
Help for Businesses:
10% wage subsidy (Maximum of $1,375 per employee to a maximum $25,000 per employer) for businesses eligible for the small business deduction, sole proprietorships, partnerships, non-profits and registered charities who had a payroll account on March 18th 2020. Businesses receive the money by reducing their source deduction remittances. This subsidy is available now.
75% wage subsidy (to a maximum of $847 a week) is not limited to small businesses but the business is generally required to demonstrate a significant reduction in revenue (typically 15% for March 2020 and 30% for future months). Businesses receive the money by cheque or direct deposit from the government. This subsidy application will be available around the third or fourth week of April 2020. Here is an updated post with specifics on the application process
Employment Insurance Work-sharing Program. If a business has employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours from between 10% and 60% as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, EI will partially make up the difference in lost wages.
$40,000 interest free loan for small businesses and not-for-profits (payroll over $50,000 but under $1,000,000 in 2019) to help cover operating costs.
Loan guarantee for small and medium-sized enterprises of up to $6.25 million through EDC.
Co-lending program for small and medium-sized businesses up to $6.25 million through the BDC.
Payment deadlines for some corporate income tax payments have been extended if they become due after March 18th 2020.
Income tax return deadlines extended to June 1st 2020 if they became due after March 18th 2020.
HST remittance deadline extended to June 30th for returns due on or after March 31st 2020.
Payroll source deductions are still due on the regular schedule.
The preceding information is for educational purposes only. As it is impossible to include all situations, circumstances and exceptions in a post such as this, a further review should be done by a qualified professional.
No individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this letter accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.