According to the Canada Revenue Agency, if about two million Canadians don’t file their 2019 tax return quickly enough, they could have their benefits interrupted. Because physical distancing measures forced many employers to shutter their doors, many Canadians turned to government assistance as unemployment rates shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, paperwork will need to be done by Canadians to make sure that the funds which many people are currently depending, keep flowing.
CRA spokesperson Dany Morin in a statement, indicated that the Canada Revenue Agency recognizes that benefits must continue without disruption to Canadians in this pandemic environment. Dany added that they would like to remind Canadians to file tax soonest to make sure their benefits continue in October. He also stated that no filing could lead to a negative impact on other provincial and municipal benefits that need an assessed tax return. Morin also explained that the CRA is using the information in their 2018 tax returns to estimate July 2020 to June 2021 entitlements for benefit recipients.
Morin said of those who haven’t filed that in the CRA estimates, there are about two million people in this situation as of July 1, 2020. To reckon with the impacts of COVID-19, the government shifted this year’s tax filing deadline from April 30 to June 1. He also said that people had until September 1 to pay what they owe without any interest or penalty. However, they are encouraging Canadians to file as soon as possible to ensure their benefits don’t get disrupted. Morin also said there are several services available to help Canadians file their returns like the 225 virtual community volunteer income tax programs. This includes the income tax assistance volunteer program clinics in Quebec.
CRA HAS RECEIVED NEARLY 10,000 POTENTIAL FRAUD TIPS
In the meantime, in situations where claimants may have been ineligible to receive the funds, the CRA has been given “more than 9,500” leads to a date of cases. Jeremy Bellefeuille, the press secretary to the national revenue minister, indicated that the CRA had received more than 9,500 Canada Emergency Response Benefit as of July 10, 2020, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CERB) lead. Even as all of these tips for potential fraud have been sent to the CRA, it does not mean they are all confirmed incidents of fraud.
Moreover, Bellefeuille indicated that, to date, there have been “more than 460,000” voluntary repayments of benefits. He added that there are “various reasons” why these voluntary repayments have been made, if an applicant later realized that they were not eligible for the benefit, or if an applicant returned to work earlier than expected. This includes “if applicants received a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period.