COVID-19 Update: Fiscal measures for accountants and tax preparers
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and is here to support Canadians. The CRA is well prepared to respond to the emergence of COVID-19, and is working with government partners to ensure that interruptions to Canadians’ tax and benefit affairs are avoided.
The Government of Canada has recently announced fiscal measures to help Canadians during this period, some of which affect tax-filing and payment deadlines. Below are important changes and information so you can help your clients.
- The deadline to file 2019 individual income tax and benefit returns has been extended to June 1, 2020.
- The deadline to pay any balance due for individual income tax and benefit returns for 2019 has been extended from April30,2020, to September1,2020. This means they will not be assessed any penalties or interest if the balance due is paid by September1,2020.
- For self-employed individuals or those who have spouses or common-law partners that are self-employed, the deadline to pay any balance due for their individual income tax and benefit return has been extended from April30,2020, to September1,2020.
- For individuals who pay income tax by instalments, the June 15, 2020 instalment payments will be deferred until September 1, 2020. They will not be assessed any penalties or interest if their instalment is paid by September 1, 2020.
Benefits and credits
- We encourage Canadians to file their income tax and benefit return electronically and as early as possible before June 1, 2020 to make sure their benefits and credits are not interrupted.
- Canadians are encouraged to register for direct deposit on the CRA’s My Account self-service portal, as this is the quickest and most reliable way to get benefit and credit payments.
Effective immediately, in order to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, the CRA 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 their taxes.
Temporary wage subsidy for employers
As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting businesses, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced a temporary wage subsidy for employers for a period of three months. Effective immediately, eligible employers (non-profit organizations, charities, and certain Canadian Controlled Private Corporations) that pay remuneration to an employee, such as salary, wages, or taxable benefits, on or after March 18th and before June 20th, are permitted to reduce remittances of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax by the amount of the subsidy. This measure is only applicable to remittances made to the CRA.
Encourage your clients to take advantage of the CRA’s digital services
With the outbreak of COVID-19, taxpayers are encouraged to use the CRA’s suite of secure digital services to interact with the CRA and easily manage their tax affairs anytime, anywhere. We encourage you to promote these services to your clients, so they can quickly track their refund, view or change their return, check benefit and credit payments, view RRSP limits, set up or update direct deposit, register a dispute, request taxpayer relief, and receive email notifications.
CRA call centres
The CRA may have fewer agents available because it has made adjustments to its workforce to ensure the health and safety of call centre employees.
As a result, the CRA can only answer calls from those having issues filing their 2019 income tax and benefit return, as well as those having issues getting their benefit payments or calling for a My Account. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The CRA encourages those who need to update or access tax information to use one of the CRA’s self-serve options, such as My Account or Represent a Client.
For more information
We thank you all for your patience as we navigate through this situation together. To learn more about how the CRA is helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, go to Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To learn more about all the fiscal measures announced in response to COVID-19, read the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.