While the government may have extended the 2019 personal tax filing general deadline from April 30 to June 1, 2020, as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians expecting a tax refund may wish to file as soon as possible to get any much-needed cash owed to them by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA is bound to be overwhelmed during this time, so the sooner you file your return, the better! KBH Chartered Professional Accountants is still aiming to have all tax returns complete by April 30th.

Are you Expecting a Refund?

One typically receives a tax refund when the amount of tax owing on your return is less than the amount of tax withheld from your income during the year, and the CRA is continuing to process returns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is encouraging Canadians to file their returns electronically and “as early as possible before June 1, 2020, to make sure your benefits and credits are not interrupted.” This is particularly important if you are receiving income-tested benefits, such as the GST/HST Credit or the Canada Child Benefit – where the payments for the 2020-21 program year are based on the prior year’s return and are set to begin in July 2020.

Possibility of Electronic Filing:

With the outbreak of COVID-19, taxpayers are encouraged to file their 2019 tax returns electronically. Both individuals and registered tax preparers can access copies of most 2019 tax slips (T4s, T5s, RRSP contribution slips, etc.) remotely using the CRA’s Auto-fill my return feature to download tax information into professional tax preparation software. A full list of CRA-certified software can be found online. Some of the software is completely free, while some paid tax software provides free offerings based on individual tax situations or income levels. While we are no longer conducting in-person meetings or interviews, every member of our team is available for a Skype call or telephone meeting. Our “Secure File Transfer” portal is live and available to use. Simply select the menu bars in the top right.  At the bottom of the page select “Secure File Transfer”.  A new window will open.  Select “Secure Upload” and fill in the information and attach your documents/folders. While final copies of tax returns can be sent to you on paper, please also consider whether electronic copies would be preferable. Electronic copies can be made available through our secure portal.

Your Tax Preparers:

The CRA announced measures to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time – we are encouraging our team members to practice social distancing and we hope you are too! The CRA is now recognizing electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a “temporary administrative measure.” This administrative relief will apply to the authorization on CRA Form T183, which is the form that is usually signed in-person by millions of Canadians every year to authorize tax preparers to EFILE taxes. Whether you are dropping off your files or sending them electronically, we have measures in place to protect both yourself and our team. If you are dropping off your files, simply place them in the boxes at the front of the office. While handling your files, our team waits a total of three days before receiving the files whilst wearing protective gloves.

Any Balance Owing:

If you owe money on your 2019 tax return, you have until Sept. 1, 2020, to pay, which is four months later than the usual April 30th deadline. This means you will not be assessed any penalties or interest if your balance due is paid by Sept. 1, 2020.

Paying Tax Installments: 

To finish, if you pay tax by installments, you now have until Sept. 1, 2020, to pay your June 2020 quarterly personal tax installment. The government has confirmed that neither interest nor penalties will accumulate from March 18, 2020, to Sept. 1, 2020.