With the sudden spread of COVID-2019 across the globe, serious economic consequences are starting to surface. The call for social distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses in Ontario and other provinces have left hundreds of thousands of individuals unemployed.

This is one of the many instances where paying so much tax throughout the year really comes in handy. The government of Canada is stepping up to the plate and they have pledged at least $27 billion dollars to help Canadians who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you were laid off or whether you are sick or need to stay home with your kids since schools are closed, you are eligible to get financial compensation for your losses.

But first, let’s answer the question everyone is asking.

How do you apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Response benefit (CERB) is going to become available for application on April 6, 2020. Yes, that means there is no way to apply for the benefit right now, you must wait until April 6 to sign up for it.

You will be able to apply through your online CRA portal and a phone line will also be open soon through which you can apply.

Important Note: If you have applied for Employment Insurance (EI) you do not have to apply for CERB, your CERB will automatically be calculated based on your EI application.

Who is eligible for CERB?

The CERB will be given to you if:

  • You are unable to work due to the pandemic (you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19) and you do not have any paid leave or income support
  • You are a parent who must stay home from work without pay to take care of their children due to school closures
  • Workers who are currently still employed but are not being paid due to lack of enough work or because they were told not to come to work
  • Self-employed individuals, contract workers, and wage earners who are not eligible for Employment Insurance.

If you fit any of the above criteria you will receive $2000 monthly for four months.

You also need to fit the following criteria:

You must have made at least $5000 in income or maternity/paternity leave in the 12-month period preceding the date of your application.

What else is the Canadian government doing to help me financially?

Apart from the CERB, the government is also offering various forms of financial relief for those who have been affected by COVID-19.

They are offering:

  • Mortgage payments to be deferred for homeowners
  • All student loan repayment from the NSLSC to be postponed until September 2020
  • No tenants to be evicted if they cannot afford to pay the rent
  • Up to 75% wage subsidy of an employee’s pay.
  • $40,000 interest-free loans and up to $10,000 of these loans could be non-repayable
  • Deferral of T1 tax deadlines, which were originally due on April 30, 2020, to June 1, 2020
  • Deferral of Personal Income taxes payable until September 1, 2020 (no interest or penalties will be charged)
  • The due date for self-employed taxes remains June 15, 2020, however self-employed taxes payable has been deferred from April 30, 2020, to September 01, 2020
  • Deferral of Trust filing due date to May,1,2020
  • GST/HST payments alongside duties and taxes owed deferred until June
  • Deferral of partnership tax returns from March 31, 2020, to May 01, 2020

Though most tax deadlines have been deferred. It is best to file your taxes immediately so you can benefit from your tax return.

The government is doing everything in its power to help families and businesses in this straining time. Check out our other blog infographic to get a more detailed look at how much more time you have to pay your taxes.

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