Latest Update on COVID-19 Related Announcements 

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Temporary Wage Subsidy Increased

The government had previously announced a 10% wage subsidy for salaries paid between March 18 through June 19, 2020, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per business.

On March 27, 2020, the 10% rate has been increased to 75%, and it is retroactive to March 15. There is no announcement regarding whether the $1,375 and $25,000 limits will be adjusted.  Further information will be provided once it is available.

Extension of Filing and Remittance Deadlines

In addition to the extensions announced previously, the following have been announced:

  • The filing of returns, forms, designations and information requests which are due after March 18 are deferred to June 1, 2020.
  • Trust, partnership and NR4 returns will be due on May 1, 2020.
  • The following GST/HST and custom duties payments are deferred to June 30, 2020:
    • Amounts monthly filers are to remit for February, March and April 2020;
    • Amounts quarterly filers are to remit for January 1 to March 31, 2020;
    • Annual filers whose returns are due March, April or May 2020 – amounts due on filing and instalments; and
    • Statements for Customs duties and GST on imports for March, April and May.

Extensions of Tax Appeals/Objections/Collections

  • Objections due after March 18 will have until June 30, 2020, to file. 
  • Objections related to taxpayers’ entitlement to credits or benefits (including EI benefits) will continue to be processed.
  • All filed objections related to other tax matters are currently in abeyance until further notice and no collection action will be taken.
  • No new audits will commence and no request for information on existing audits.
  • No audits should be finalized, and no reassessments should be issued.
  • Banks and employers are not required to comply or remit on Requirement to Pay actions by CRA.
  • Ontario has announced a suspension of audit activities for April 2020. 

Canada Emergency Business Account   

The government will guarantee up to $40,000 of loans to small businesses and non-profits that will be implemented by eligible financial institutions.  Certain information relating to this new loan arrangement includes:

  • The loan will be interest-free; 
  • To be eligible, the organization must have between $50,000 to $1 million of payroll in 2019; and
  • Repayment of the loan by December 31, 2022, will result in a forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).

Employer Health Tax Exemption Increased

The Ontario government had announced on March 25, 2020, that the EHT exemption will be increased from $490,000 to $1 million for the 2020 tax year. The eligibility criteria for the exemption and applicable tax rate remains the same. The exemption will go back to $490,000 on January 1, 2021.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Premium Deferral

The Ontario government announced on March 26, 2020, that all employers can defer WSIB premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.  The WSIB will also cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments during this period.  The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces during this deferral period.

Ontario – Five-Month Exemption from Penalties and Interest

Beginning April 1, 2020, businesses will not be assessed penalties and interest on late filing and remitting tax payments administered directly by the province. This includes EHT, beer and wine tax, gas tax, etc.  The actual filing and remittance deadlines are not changed.

Existing debts before the relief period will continue to accrue interest.

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