Tax Bulletin #2
CANADA’S COVID-19 ECONOMIC RESPONSE PLAN – KEY POINTS FOR BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS
Since the beginning of March, restrictions and measures related to COVID-19 have rapidly escalated. While the first stages focused on public health and safety, in very short order, businesses and personal finances began to be affected. It is clear that these challenges will become worse before they get better. In an effort to combat these effects, the Government of Canada released a series of financial measures in mid-March.
This document summarizes selected government comments up to March 18, 2020.
Tax Return Due Date Deferral: The personal tax filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020. However, those expecting refunds or benefits (such as the GST/HST credit, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Canada Child Benefit) should file as early as possible. The government release encourages Canadians not to delay their filings in order to ensure their income-tested benefits are accurately computed.
Tax Payment Deferral: Taxpayers may defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 (also including installments) and before September 2020. The government documents indicate that payment will be deferred “until after August 31, 2020”, which seems to imply payment will be due on September 1. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
Individuals Without Paid Sick Leave: For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the government is:
• Waiving the one-week waiting period for those in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits, effective March 15, 2020.
• Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
• Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks (comparable to EI sickness benefit). This benefit would provide income support to:
o workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits;
o workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits; and
o parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, regardless of whether they qualify for EI or not. Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest (and continue to attest every two weeks) that they meet the eligibility requirements. Individuals can apply through CRA’s MyAccount, their My Service Canada Account, or by calling an automated toll-free number not yet released.
Longer-Term Income Support
• An Emergency Support Benefit will provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI