The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the usual ways Canadians manage their taxes. The CRA is here to answer questions you may have regarding your tax affairs, and to help you successfully file your income tax and benefit return. Here are the answers to the top questions we’re asked at tax time, as well as some answers about COVID-19 benefits.
How do the COVID-19 benefits impact your income tax return?
If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), or Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) payments, these are considered taxable income, and you will have to enter on your return the total of the amounts you received. You will receive a T4A (for benefits issued by the CRA) and/or a T4E (for benefits issued by Service Canada) tax slip in the mail with the information you need for your return.
In addition, you may owe tax when filing your return. This will depend on your personal circumstances, and the type of COVID-19 benefits you received:
- If you received the CERB or CESB, no tax was withheld when payments were issued, and you may owe tax when filing your 2020 tax return.
- If you received the CRB, CRSB, or CRCB, 10% tax was withheld at source. However, this may not be all the tax you need to pay. When you complete your personal income tax return, you may need to pay more (or less), depending on how much income you earned in 2020.
We recognize that for some individuals, repaying these benefits could present significant financial hardship. For this reason, payment arrangement parameters have been expanded to give Canadians more time and flexibility to repay based on their individual financial situations.
There may be other impacts to filing your tax return that are specific to the COVID-19 benefit you received, or if you are a resident in Quebec.