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

From tax expert Gerry Vittoratos
March 20, 2020

The Federal and Quebec governments announced changes that relate to the tax filing deadline, and other measures due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Read on to get the details.

Tax return filing and amount owing deadline extended

The tax return filing deadline for tax year 2019 has been extended to June 1st, 2020. Any amount owing, whether it’s from the tax return or instalment payments owed before September 2020, are due on August 31st. Quebec has enacted the same deadlines for the provincial tax return and balance owing deadline.  For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

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.

Effective immediately, the CRA and Revenu Quebec will recognize electronic signatures, as a temporary measure, for the EFile authorization forms, such as the T183 and T183CORP on the Federal side, and TP-1000 and CO-1000 for Quebec.

Temporary increase of certain benefits

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

The Federal government will also increase the amount received per child for the Canada Child Benefit. Only for the 2019-2020 benefit year, maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts will increase by $300 per child. Eligible taxpayers will start receiving this increased payment starting in May.

A new benefit has been introduced, the Emergency Care Benefit (ECB). The ECB will provide a bi-weekly benefit of up to $900 for up to 15 weeks. Administered by the CRA, it will provide 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 quality 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 of 2020. Your eligibility will be assessed every 2 weeks. You can apply through:

The Emergency Supports Benefit has been introduced for individuals who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact.  No details have been communicated yet regarding this benefit.

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 hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Other measures

  • Other measures announced include the following:
  • The required minimum withdrawal for Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) will be reduced by 25% for 2020.
  • A six-month interest-free moratorium has been placed for individuals who are currently repaying student loans
  • The one-week waiting period for workers on imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits will be waived. This will take effect as of March 15th
  • The requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits has been waived

For more information on these changes, please consult the links below:

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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