Benefits payments for eligible Canadians to continue until Fall 2020

DIANE Lebouthillier, federal Minister of National Revenue, on Friday announced that benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time.

Eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada child benefit (CCB) will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020.

As previously announced as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the tax filing deadline has been extended from April 30 to June 1.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expects many Canadians will need to take advantage of the extended deadline. Therefore, if the 2019 tax return is not assessed, and to allow time to calculate benefits and/or credits for the July to September 2020 payments, payment amounts will be based on information from 2018 tax returns.

If 2019 tax returns are not received and assessed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and/or credits will stop in October 2020 and the taxpayer will have to repay the estimated amounts that were issued as of July 2020.

The CRA encourages Canadians to file their tax returns by June 1, or as soon as possible in order to receive the right amount of benefits based on their 2019 tax return, and in order to ensure continuity of benefits beyond September 2020. The CRA has helpful information and a step-by-step guide to help Canadians complete their taxes.

To help file taxes, free virtual clinics will be offered by local organizations, in partnership with the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) and the joint CRA and Revenu Québec Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.

These clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those with low and modest incomes and a simple tax situation who are looking for support during tax season.

Lebouthillier said: “We know many Canadians are facing hardship as a result of the financial, physical, and emotional strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Benefits and credits are important for Canadians as many rely on them to make ends meet. We also know that some Canadians are not able to file their tax return on time due to physical distancing measures, even with the addition of virtual tax clinics. By making sure that benefits aren’t interrupted, we are providing relief to some of the most vulnerable Canadians during this difficult time.”

  • Quick Facts:
  • Benefits payments starting in July 2020 and those scheduled for August and September won’t be interrupted for those who are presently receiving the GST/HST credit and/or the CCB.
  • The CRA is currently processing paper returns. However, due to the reduced staff onsite to support physical distancing in all of our offices, Canadians that have filed a 2019 tax year paper return can expect significant delays in processing their return. To assist with these delays, the CRA will allow these Canadians the option to also file a 2019 return electronically. This is a temporary measure which started on April 20, 2020.
  • Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 1, 2020.
  • On May 12, Lebouthillier announced that free virtual clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those with low and modest incomes and a simple tax situation who are looking for support during tax season.
  • Virtual clinics will have new flexibility to receive and authenticate documents in a variety of ways, including allowing the use of video communication.
  • As announced on May 12, the government is temporarily extending Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most.