Cameron French
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TORONTO –
With all that to worry about regarding the pandemic and our working lives, the idea of ​​filing income tax returns on time this year may seem a bit odd. However, if you hope to receive one of the various COVD-19 aid in the future, you could expect delays of up to two months if you fail to meet the April 30 deadline, warns the Canada Revenue Agency.

In the latest post on the Tax Tips – 2021 page, the rating agency acknowledges the challenges some Canadians may face this year in completing their filing requirements, but advises that they will need 2020 tax information in order to be eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

For all three programs, applicants must have earned at least $ 5,000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months prior to the application date.

“The rating agency has put in additional pre-screening and security measures for COVID-19 recovery benefits to ensure that those who receive the benefits are eligible, as those benefits are intended to replace income,” the agency says. “Filing on time will prevent your claw back payments from being held while we are reviewing your eligibility.”

“If the credit rating agency requires additional information, it can take up to eight weeks to process the application from the time the requested documentation is received,” she added.

The agency states that on-time submissions can be processed within 3 to 5 business days. However, she recommends that those who use paper returns submit them early as these returns can take 10 to 12 weeks to process. More than 90 percent of tax investigators in Canada register electronically.

Last week, the federal government was under pressure from opposition Conservatives to postpone this year’s tax return, and Quebec announced that it would postpone the deadline until the end of May. Francisco Sorbara, parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, responded during Question Time in the House of Commons that Canadians should file in time to avoid disruption of services.

Canada’s first introduction of benefits last year faced some issues as the government scrambled to take quick action to deal with the economic impact of lockdowns. The initial benefit – the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – was introduced on the basis of “Trust Then Verify,” which did not require a 2019 tax return.

Confusion about whether the $ 5,000 income eligibility for CERB should be calculated from gross or net income resulted in many beneficiaries being told they would have to repay thousands of dollars in grants when the government clarified late last year that eligibility was determined by the higher net income limit at the end of last year. The government eventually reversed course, saying that people who assumed that gross income was a requirement would not have to repay benefits.

However, the issue of repayment of benefits will be a feature of this tax season for applicants who may have earned more income than expected in the last year or who received CERB payments from both the rating agency and employment insurance. Last month, the Canadian Auditor General announced that double CERB payments of more than US $ 500 million had been made through both programs.

One person will visit a website for on Sunday, August 16, 2020 Canada Revenue Agency in Montreal as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graham Hughes

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