BC & Federal Government Update 3-24-2020


British Columbia Measures

On March 23, 2020, the Government of British Columbia announced several measures to assist business and individuals. Here is what you need to know.

New Measures for Business

1. Deferring the payment of several taxes for business until September 30, 2020, including: Employer Health Tax (originally due March 31st)

o PST remittances

o Carbon taxes

2. School tax rate reduced by 50% for business and commercial properties. This could have an average savings of $4,000 per property. This will be passed through to tenants that have triple net leases.

3. Non-profit, service delivery agencies, and childcare providers will continue to receive provincial funding regardless of whether programs are operating, and sites are open. Childcare businesses that are staying open are to receive enhanced funding to cover business expenses.

New Measures for Individuals

1. Emergency benefit for workers o Open to anyone who receives the federal EI payments, new Emergency Care Benefits, or new Emergency Support Benefits.

o Tax-free $1,000 one-time payment.

o Note: Application process not yet announced.

2. Expanding the existing BC Climate Action Tax Credit Eligible families will receive up to $218 in enhanced payments in July 2020.

3. Supporting people unable to pay monthly bills o ICBC - People on a monthly payment plan can defer payment for up to 90 days

o BC Hydro - People and businesses can defer bill payments with no penalty, or apply for grants up to $600 if facing disconnection

4. Freeze student loan payments starting March 30, 2020 for 6 months. (Note: Federal student loan payments have already been frozen).

More Information

Please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0013-000545#

Canada Measures - updated

Important changes to tax-filing and payment deadlines

Individuals:

The deadline to file your income tax and benefit return will be deferred until June 1, 2020. The deadline to pay any balance due for your individual income tax and benefit return for 2019 has been extended from April 30, 2020, to September 1, 2020. This means you will not be assessed any penalties or interest if your balance due is paid by September 1, 2020.

Self-employed and their spouse or common law partner:

For self-employed individuals or those who have spouses or common-law partners that are self-employed, the deadline to pay any balance due for your individual income tax and benefit return has been extended from April 30, 2020, to September 1, 2020.

Businesses:

The deadline for businesses to pay any income tax amounts that become owing or due after March 18, 2020 and before September 1, 2020 has been extended to September 1, 2020. This means you will not be assessed any penalties or interest if your balance due is paid by September 1, 2020.

Trusts:

For trusts with a taxation year end of December 31, 2019, the filing due date of March 31, 2020, will be deferred to May 1, 2020. Furthermore, all trusts that have an upcoming income tax balance due date or an income tax instalment payment due date before September 1, 2020, will have their payment due date effectively extended to September 1, 2020. Penalty and interest implications for upcoming trust tax obligations not covered by the relief described above will be considered by the CRA on a case-by-case basis.

Charities:

The Charities Directorate is extending the filing deadline to December 31, 2020, for all charities with a Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Benefits, credits, and support for individuals

You are encouraged to file your income tax and benefit return electronically and as early as possible before June 1, 2020, to make sure your benefits and credits are not interrupted.

You are encouraged to register for direct deposit on CRA’s My Account self-service portal, as this is the quickest and most reliable way to get benefit and credit payments.

New measures

Emergency Care Benefit

The Emergency Care Benefit will provide up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would provide income support to:

• Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

• Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

• Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020 and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

1. by accessing it on their CRA My Account secure portal;

2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or

3. by calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process.

Emergency Support Benefit

The Emergency Support Benefit will provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) payment amounts

The Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the GSTC. This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.

The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. This measure will inject $5.5 billion into the economy.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts

The Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual CCB payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.

The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment. In total, this measure will deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs)

To ensure that certain groups who may be vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need, the Government is proposing targeted help by reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.

Temporary wage subsidy for employers

As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting businesses, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced a temporary wage subsidy for employers for a period of three months. Effective immediately, eligible employers (non-profit organizations, charities, and certain Canadian Controlled Private Corporations) that pay remuneration to an employee, such as salary, wages, or taxable benefits, on or after March 18th and before June 20th, are permitted to reduce remittances of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax by the amount of the subsidy. This measure is only applicable to remittances made to the CRA.

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