*This page is frequently updated to reflect the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Check back for updates.
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The CRA will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks.
For the vast majority of taxpayers, the CRA will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives. Interaction with taxpayers will be limited to those cases where the legal deadline to reassess a tax return is approaching, and in cases of high risk GST/HST refund claims that require some contact before they can be paid out.
BENEFITS AND CREDITS - FILING RECOMMENDATIONS
The CRA encourages you to file your income tax and benefit return electronically and as early as possible before June 1, 2020, to make sure your benefits and credits are not interrupted.
You are encouraged to register for direct deposit on CRA’s My Account self-service portal, as this is the quickest and most reliable way to get benefit and credit payments.
CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)
The government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, will be able to receive the CERB.
Use this flowchart to find out if you qualify:
The CERB will cover:
• Canadians who have lost their job,
• are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
• as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
The CERB applies to:
• wage earners
• contract workers
• self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
• workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19
Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.
Canadians will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
CANADA CHILD BENEFIT
The Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual CCB payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.
The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment. In total, this measure will deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.
Collections activities on new debts will be suspended until further notice, and flexible payment arrangements will be available.
Please note that due to measures taken surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the CRA Debt Management Call Centre service is not currently available. If you have concerns and require contact with a Collections Officer, please contact the CRA toll free at 1-800-675-6184 between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm your local time.
CONTACTING THE CRA
Call Centres The CRA call centres will continue to be open from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday to Friday, and 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays (local time). However, the CRA may have fewer agents available because it has made adjustments to its workforce to ensure the health and safety of call centre employees. As a result, the CRA can only answer calls from those having issues filing their 2019 income tax and benefit return, getting their benefit payments or those looking to establish their My Account.
Charities The Charities Directorate has suspended all operations until further notice, which includes the CRA call centres as well as all registration and audit activities. For information on operating a charity, you are encouraged to review the Charities and Giving webpage.
DEADLINES - TAX-FILING AND PAYMENTS
Businesses The deadline for businesses to pay any income tax amounts that become owing or due after March 18, 2020 and before September 1, 2020 has been extended to September 1, 2020. This means you will not be assessed any penalties or interest if your balance due is paid by September 1, 2020.
Charities The Charities Directorate is extending the filing deadline to December 31, 2020, for all charities with a Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
Individuals The deadline to file your income tax and benefit return will be deferred until June 1, 2020. The deadline to pay any balance due for your individual income tax and benefit return for 2019 has been extended from April 30, 2020, to September 1, 2020. This means you will not be assessed any penalties or interest if your balance due is paid by September 1, 2020.
Self-Employed For self-employed individuals or those who have spouses or common-law partners that are self-employed, the deadline to pay any balance due for your individual income tax and benefit return has been extended from April 30, 2020, to September 1, 2020.
Trusts For trusts with a taxation year end of December 31, 2019, the filing due date of March 31, 2020, will be deferred to May 1, 2020.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX CREDIT (GSTC)
The Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the GSTC. This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. This measure will inject $5.5 billion into the economy.
LIAISON OFFICER SERVICE
The CRA is adapting its Liaison Officer service to support small businesses during COVID‑19. Through this service, the CRA offers help to owners of small businesses to help them understand their tax obligations. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone.
The Liaison Officer service is customizing information during these challenging times by ensuring small businesses are aware of any changes such as filing and payment deadlines, proactive relief measures, etc.
OBJECTIONS AND APPEALS
Any objections related to Canadians' entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service which will continue to be delivered during COVID-19. As a result, there should not be any delays associated with the processing of these objections.
The CRA is adapting its Outreach Program to support individuals during COVID‑19. Through this service, the CRA offers help to individuals to better understand their tax obligations and to obtain the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone, and through webinar, where possible by completing a request online.
Outreach officers are being asked to maintain contact with partner organizations and associations to discuss the situation and concerns they may have with any planned activities. They will provide information, links, and documents to support partner organizations in helping taxpayers, where possible.
RRIF (REGISTERED RETIREMENT INCOME FUNDS)
To ensure that certain groups who may be vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need, the Government is proposing targeted help by reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.
This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.