We hope this update finds you safe and healthy and that you enjoyed the great summer weather here in our Atlantic Bubble. While we are adapting to a new reality of learning to live with COVID 19, Atlantic Canada continues to be the safest place in the World during this pandemic. Our continued resolve to practice physical distancing and following health protocols has resulted in low rates of COVID cases. We owe front line workers and health care professionals a huge debt of gratitude for all the work they do.
Each client situation is different. As such, we continue to strongly encourage you to contact either of us with any questions you may have regarding the various program. We can assist you in determining which program is available to you and completing any applications.
Since our last update, the Federal government has made important updates to several COVID 19 programs. A summary of the most significant changes are provided below:
Support for Businesses
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”)
The federal government made important changes to the CEWS in order to make the program available to more small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID 19. The program is now available to employers that have experienced any decline in revenue. The wage subsidy is determined based on the percentage of revenue decline experienced by the employer. Another important change is the subsidy is available to non-arms length employees (family members) who received salaries in 2019 but not between January 1, 2020 and March 15, 2020. The program has been extended to December 19, 2020.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”)
The Federal government introduced this program to provide rent relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Under the program, the property owner will reduce rent by 75% for the months April through September. The application period for this program remains open for NEW applications until Sept 30 and opt-in until Oct 30 for those already approved. This program is also available for situations where the landlord and tenant are related or the same group.
Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”)
Originally introduced in April, 2020, this program provided $40,000 interest free loans to small businesses and non-profit organizations impacted by COVID 19. Repaying the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% or $10,000.
In order to qualify, organizations must have paid between $20,001 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
The federal government subsequently expanded the program for business with $20,000 or less in payroll in 2019. To be eligible, businesses need to meet the following criteria:
• A business operating account at a participating financial institution;
• A CRA business number and filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return;
• Eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1,500,000 such as rent, property taxes, insurance, payroll to arms-length employees
The application deadline for this program has been extended to October 31, 2020
Extended Corporate Tax Filing and Payment Deadline
For companies with fiscal year ends dates between November 30, 2019 and March 31, 2020, the tax return filing date has been extended to September 30, 2020. In addition, CRA has extended the tax payment deadline to September 30, 2020 for tax amounts originally due between March 18, 2020 and September 29, 2020. In addition, CRA will not assess interest on unpaid balances and tax instalments due between March 18, 2020 and September 29, 2020 as long as any tax payments are paid on or before September 30, 2020. So all 2019 tax balances should be paid by September 30, 2020 to avoid further interest.
Support for Individuals
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”)
The program provides a $2,000 benefit for each four week period. The program was recently extended from 24 weeks to 28 weeks ( March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. Applicants can apply no later than December 2, 2020 for payments retroactive to within that period
Extended Personal Tax Filing and Payment Deadline.
For individuals, the tax return filing deadline was extended to June 1, 2020. CRA has taken the position that it will not assess late filing penalties or interest as long as the 2019 personal tax return is filed by September 30, 2020.
Individuals with balances owing for 2019 personal tax returns as well as tax instalments due on June 15, 2020 and/or September 15, 2020 may delay making the payments until September 30, 2020. CRA will not assess any interest on these balances as long as payment is made by September 30, 2020
Our Office and Our Team
During May 2020, our team returned to work at our office. To ensure everyone’s continued health and safety, we implemented certain protocols in order to maintain physical distancing. In-person client meetings have been ongoing for those who are comfortable, while we are also always available by phone or email.