On April 03, 2020, the CRA posted the following information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and on the GST tax credit.
COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
You can apply for the CERB with CRA online or by phone.
April 9 – GST/HST credit payment: The one-time supplementary GST/HST credit payment will be issued starting on April 9, 2020. This payment is part of the Government of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will get the payment automatically if you normally receive the GST/HST credit. It will be mailed to you or deposited into your bank account if you’re enrolled for direct deposit.
File Early if Possible
File your income tax and benefit return electronically before June 1, 2020 to make sure your benefits and credits are not interrupted.
Register for direct deposit on CRA’s My Account for the quickest and most reliable way to get benefit and credit payments.
Note: You can now sign up for direct deposit or change your account information through many financial institutions. This service applies to customers of:
- Affinity Credit Union (coming soon)
- Alterna Bank
- Alterna Savings
- ATB Financial (coming soon)
- BlueShore Financial
- Cambrian Credit Union (coming soon)
- Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union (coming soon)
- Education Credit Union
- G&F Financial Group
- HSBC (coming soon)
- KOHO Financial
- Libro Credit Union
- Meridian Credit Union
- National Bank
- Peoples Trust
- Servus Credit Union (coming soon)
- Simplii Financial
- TCU Financial
- TD Canada Trust
- UNI Financial Cooperation
- We Financial
- WFCU Credit Union
Once you provide consent through one of these financial institutions, your CRA direct deposit information will be updated the following day. We encourage you to visit your financial institution’s website for information on how to sign up.
Allow up to 5 business days after the scheduled payment date to receive your benefit or credit payment before calling us.
New Benefits or Support
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working and are without employment or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19. The Benefit, in the amount of $2,000, will be paid in blocks of four weeks. A maximum 16 weeks of benefits can be paid.
Canadians will be able to apply for the new CERB in My Account or using the automated phone line starting April 6, 2020.
Changes to Existing Benefits, Credits or Support
Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit payment amounts
The Government will provide a one-time special payment on April 9, 2020. This payment will double the maximum annual GST/HST credit payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.
You will get the extra payment amount automatically if you normally receive the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return.
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.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Payment Amounts
The Government increased 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.
Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) Minimum Withdrawal
The minimum withdrawals requirement from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.
This will provide flexibility to seniors who are concerned they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution registered pension plan and a pooled registered pension plan.
What To Do if the Canada Revenue Agency Reviews Your Benefits
If you have received a letter from the CRA that includes a date to respond or asks for documents, no action is required from you at this time. Verification work is currently on hold and the CRA will re-contact you once the current COVID-19 measures are lifted.
If you are a benefit recipient whose payments have been stopped or adjusted after a validation review and you have sent in the requested documentation, your account will be processed on a priority basis.
It is important to note that, although reviews have been postponed, it does not prevent future actions or reviews from being completed. Benefit recipients will need to keep their supporting documents, in case they are selected for review in the future.
Please speak to your DMCL advisor about your circumstances and to understand the tax impact on you or your organization.