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Economic Response Plan and changes to the tax return filing deadline due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

by UFile Team Équipe ImpôtExpert | Mar 20, 2020   Comments:

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The federal and Quebec governments have announced changes relating to the tax filing deadline as well as other measures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Read on for details.

Extension of tax return filing and amount owing deadlines

The tax return filing deadline for tax year 2019 has been extended to June 1, 2020. Any amount owing whether from the tax return or instalment payments owed before September 2020 is due on August 31. Quebec has enacted the same deadlines for the provincial tax return and balance owing deadline. The federal government urges all taxpayers to file their tax returns as soon as possible in order for them to properly determine the GST Credit and Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments. The Quebec government has pledged to pay the Solidarity Tax Credit and Family Allowance on time despite the filing delays.

Temporary increase of certain benefits

In May 2020, a one-time special payment will be made through the GST credit. For those eligible, the average boost to income will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

The federal government will also increase the maximum annual payment amount of Canada Child Benefit. For the 2019–2020 benefit year only, eligible families will receive an additional $300 per child, starting in May.

The new Emergency Care Benefit (ECB) has been introduced. The ECB will provide a bi-weekly benefit of up to $900 for up to 15 weeks. Administered by the CRA, it will provide income support to:

  • workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits;
  • 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 qualify for EI sickness benefits;
  • parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

You will be able to apply for this new benefit starting in April 2020. Your eligibility will be assessed every two weeks. You can apply through:

  • the CRA’s My Account secure portal;
  • the My Service Canada Account secure portal; or
  • a toll-free number with an automated application process (not available as of this writing).

The Emergency Support Benefit has been introduced for individuals who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of the impact of COVID-19. No details have been communicated yet regarding this measure.

Eligibility for the Employment Insurance Work Sharing Program will be extended to 76 weeks. This program provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Other measures

Other measures announced include the following:

  • The required minimum withdrawal from a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) will be reduced by 25% for 2020.
  • A six-month interest-free moratorium has been put in place for individuals who are currently repaying student loans.
  • The one-week waiting period for workers on imposed quarantine who claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits has been waived as of March 15.
  • The requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits has been waived.

For more information on these changes, please visit the following links:

Federal:
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Quebec:
https://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/press-room/press-releases/details/167313/2020-03-17/

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/individuals-and-businesses-can-pay-their-taxes-on-september-1st-2020-824919864.html

 

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