As of February 16, 2021, the CRA announced interest relief for certain individuals who received COVID-19 income relief in 2020.

Certain Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) recipients may no longer have to repay this assistance to the government. The CRA says self-employed individuals who applied for the CERB based on their gross income will not have to repay amounts received under the program, provided they otherwise qualified for the CERB. The CRA’s relief follows their earlier clarification that self-employed individuals should have considered their pre-tax net income (not gross income) to determine if they met the CERB eligibility requirements.

Note: the CRA has not extended the tax filing deadline and individuals should complete and submit their 2020 tax returns by April 30, 2021 (or June 15, 2021, for self-employed individuals) to avoid late-filing penalties.


Relief for self-employed CERB recipients

Self-employed individuals with less than $5,000 of net self-employment income in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their CERB application, who applied for and received the CERB will not have to repay it as long as their gross self-employment income was at least $5,000 and they met all other CERB eligibility criteria.

In addition, the CRA says that it will issue a refund to eligible self-employed CERB recipients who already repaid the benefit. The CRA is expected to announce more details in the coming weeks.