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Update on Office Hours and COVID-19

Link to more details about the economic response to Covid-19
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Link to apply for Employment Insurance
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html

Link to set up My Account
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html


March 28, 2020: WSIB – Ontario: Premium Reporting and Payment Relief announced

https://www.wsib.ca/en/news-release/wsib-announces-19-billion-financial-relief-ontario-businesses

WSIB announces $1.9 billion in financial relief for Ontario businesses 

Confirms benefit payments will continue to Ontarians with work related injuries or illness

Toronto, March 26, 2020 –  The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), in conjunction with the Government of Ontario, has developed a financial relief package worth $1.9 billion to help employers reduce the financial burden of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.

“We have worked closely with the Government of Ontario to help Ontario businesses as they face this unprecedented challenge,” said Elizabeth Witmer, Chair of the WSIB. “Ontario businesses will now be able to defer their WSIB premium payments up to six months.”

All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. This means that businesses can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. This premium deferral impacts businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings.

Additionally, no interest will accrue on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.

This relief package also applies to Schedule 2 employers – publicly funded organizations (municipalities, hospitals, school boards), and other businesses who are involved in federally regulated industries.

The WSIB also confirmed that while its offices remain closed to the public during this time, it remains committed to serving the people of Ontario. Benefit payments will continue for people with work related injuries or illness. New claims can be submitted and will be adjudicated, and our online services, including document upload, are available. Dedicated customer support teams are also available by phone to provide urgent support.

“Our relief package will support businesses in this difficult time while protecting coverage for people who need us,” said Tom Teahen, President and CEO of the WSIB. “We know how tough this situation is for everyone and we are here to help.”

Businesses can learn more by visiting the WSIB’s COVID-19 information page and continue to manage their account information through the WSIB’s online services.


March 28, 2020:  Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/additional-support-for-canadian-businesses-from-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19.html

Backgrounder

These measures are a part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which provides direct support and tax deferrals to Canadian workers and businesses to help them in these difficult times.

The Government of Canada is making additional investments to support Canadian businesses from the economic impacts of COVID-19. These new investments provide support to financial institutions and allow them to quickly provide credit and liquidity options for a range of businesses.

These measures are a part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which provides direct support and tax deferrals to Canadian workers and businesses to help them in these difficult times.

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments

Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers

New Loan Programs for Businesses

Canada Revenue Agency’s Additional Measures for Individuals and Businesses

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments

In order to provide support for Canadian businesses during these unprecedented economic times, the Government is deferring Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020.

This measure could provide up to $30 billion in cash flow or liquidity assistance for Canadian businesses and self-employed individuals over the next three months

GST/HST Remittance Deferral

The GST/HST applies to sales of most goods and services in Canada and at each stage of the supply chain. Vendors must collect the GST/HST and remit it (net of input tax credits) with their GST/HST return for each reporting period.

Vendors with annual sales of more than $6 million remit and report monthly, and those with annual sales of $1.5 million to $6 million are able to remit and report on a quarterly basis (or monthly if they choose to). Small vendors can report annually.

The GST/HST amounts collected are generally due by the end of the month following the vendor’s reporting period: e.g., for a monthly filer, the GST/HST amounts collected on its February sales are due by the end of March.

To support Canadian businesses in the current extraordinary circumstances, the Minister of National Revenue will extend until June 30, 2020 the time that:

  • Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
  • Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and
  • Annual filers, whose GST/HST return or instalment are due in March, April or May 2020, have to remit amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

Businesses in need of information about their particular obligations may contact the Canada Revenue Agency or refer to its website.

Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers

Imported goods by businesses are generally subject to the GST, at a rate of 5 per cent, as well as applicable customs duties, which vary by product and country of origin. While the vast majority of imports enter Canada duty-free, some tariffs remain, especially on consumer goods.

The Customs Act, for which the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is responsible and which is administered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), governs the levying and payment of customs duties in Canada.

Typically, payments owing for customs duties and the GST on imports are due before the first day of the month following the month in which the Statements of Accounts are issued.

Section 33.7(1) of the Customs Act allows the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or an officer designated by the President of the CBSA to extend, in writing, the timeline for accounting or payment of amounts owing.

Under this authority, payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020.

Businesses in need of information about their particular accounting and payment obligations on imported goods may contact the Canada Border Services Agency for more details.

New Loan Programs for Businesses

Canada Emergency Business Account

To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada is announcing the launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

This $25 billion program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

This will better position them to quickly return to providing services to their communities and creating employment.

Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.

To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

A New Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. To support their operations, EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.

The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for export sector and domestic companies.

A New Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises

To provide additional liquidity support for Canadian businesses, the Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. The potential for lending for this program will be $20 billion.

New Business Credit Availability Program Measures
Measure Size
Canada Emergency Business Account $25B
SME Loan and Guarantee program
EDC Guarantee $20B
BDC Co-Lending Program $20B
Total $65B

Canada Revenue Agency’s Additional Measures for Individuals and Businesses

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that individuals and businesses might be dealing with difficulties filing their income and benefit returns, and could experience cash-flow challenges in the coming months. In response, the CRA will be applying these additional measures:

Administrative tax measures

In addition to the income tax filing and payment deadline extensions, unless otherwise noted, administrative income tax actions required of taxpayers by the CRA that are due after March 18, 2020, can be deferred to June 1, 2020. These administrative income tax actions include returns, elections, designations and information requests. Payroll deductions payments and all related activities are excluded.

Trusts, Partnerships and NR4 Information Returns

The deadlines for trusts, partnership and NR4 information returns are all extended to May 1, 2020. This is due to administrative requirements in advance of the June 1, 2020 deadline for filing individual income tax and benefit returns.

Objections

Any objections related to Canadians’ entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service and will continue to be processed during the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, there should not be any delays associated with the processing of these objections.

With respect to objections related to other tax matters filed by individuals and businesses, the CRA is currently holding these accounts in abeyance. No collection action will be taken with respect to these accounts during this period of time.

Extending the deadline for filing an objection

For any objection request due March 18 or later, the deadline is effectively extended until June 30, 2020.

Canada Pension Plan/Employment Insurance (CPP/EI) appeals to the Minister

In cases where taxpayers wish to file an appeal in relation to CPP/EI rulings decision, they are encouraged to do so through MyAccount to avoid potential delays.

The CPP/EI appeals program is currently only actioning appeals that are related to cases where EI benefits are pending. These cases will be treated on a priority basis. All other appeals will be actioned when normal services resume.

In addition, the CPP/EI Appeals to the Minister program will exercise discretion on a case by case basis when additional time is required to respond to a request.

Deadlines for charities

CRA 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. This will allow charities more time to complete and submit their T3010.

Suspending audit activities

CRA will not initiate contact with taxpayers for audits, with certain exceptions. This includes:

  • no new audits being launched;
  • no requests for information related to existing audits; and
  • no audits should be finalized and no reassessments should be issued.

Suspending collections on new debt

Collections activities on new debts will be suspended until further notice, and flexible payment arrangements will be available.

Payment arrangements are also available on a case-by-case basis if you can’t pay your taxes, child and family benefit overpayments, Canada Student Loans, or other government program overpayments in full.

If you have concerns and require contact with a Collections Officer, please contact our toll free number 1-800-675-6184 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. your local time.

Requirement to pay (RTP)

Banks and employers do not need to comply or remit on existing RTPs during this time.

Taxpayer relief requests

Taxpayers who are unable to file a return or make a payment by the tax-filing and payment deadlines because of COVID-19 can request the cancellation of penalty and interest charged to their account. Penalties and interest will not be charged if the new deadlines that the government has announced to tax-filing and payments are met. For more information about deadlines, see Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For more information about taxpayer relief and how to make a request to the CRA to have interest and/or penalties cancelled, please go to Canada.ca/taxpayer-relief.

For more information, visit Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


March 26, 2020: Government introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

From: Department of Finance Canada

News release

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

March 25, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and the economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health, putting food on the table, paying for their medication or caring for a family member.

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB would 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 would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

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.

The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

This benefit would be one part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, to support Canadian workers and businesses and help stabilize the economy by helping Canadians pay for essentials like housing and groceries, and helping businesses pay their employees and bills during this unprecedented time of global uncertainty.


March 18, 2020: Filing dates and tax payment deferrals announced today

Flexibility for Taxpayers
In order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts.
 For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
 For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

In order to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, effective immediately the Canada Revenue Agency will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure. This provision applies to authorization forms T183 or T183CORP, which are forms that are signed in person by millions of Canadians every year to authorize tax preparers to file taxes.

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

The Canada Revenue Agency 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 businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

Link to more details about the economic response to Covid-19
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html


March 17, 2020: Update on Office Hours and COVID-19

In response to the country’s call to stay home and practice social distancing, I have decided to close my office to meetings till March 31 st. I am still working and available by phone, text and email to respond to questions. I ask for patience as I prioritize inquiries from small business owners looking for advice on mandated closings and staffing issues.

It was announced today by the Prime Minister that this Friday there will be an update regarding income tax filings and business payments. Once that information is available, I will post additional details on my website and business Facebook page.

I am continuing to process T1 personal returns. Your documents and receipts can be sent to me through email, Dropbox or Google Drive. If you are out buying essential groceries and wish to leave the information in my mailbox, please do so. Text me at 905-466-2954 and I will retrieve it.

There is still plenty of time for returns to be prepared for the current April 30th deadline. Do your best to stay home and be safe.

Sincerely,
Louise Rayner, CPA, CMA
Louise Rayner CPA Professional Corporation

 

Contact us
3344 Judy Court, Burlington, Ontario L7M 3R6
Tel 905 466-2954 | Fax 905 336-1603