COVID-19: CERB Support for Self-Employed Individuals
Over the last several weeks there have been various announcements concerning Government support for businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic (CERB). This article will provide a complete guide to the benefits and the support for self-employed individuals, pledged by both the federal and provincial governments.
COVID-19 Federal Government Response
Support for Self-Employed Individuals
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:
- live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
- stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
- have not voluntarily quit their job
- had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.
On April 15, the federal government announced the following changes to the eligibility rules to:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19
- Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19
Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.
- You can apply for the CERB here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html.
- You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041
Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments
The government will allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.
- Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June.
- For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May.
- These amounts were normally due to be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of March 2020.
You can learn more about the deferral of GST/HST tax remittances here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-gst-hst.html
More time to pay income taxes
The government is allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. You can see all Income tax filing and payment dates here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html
COVID-19 Provincial Government Response
Government of Ontario
- The government of Ontario has indicated that there will be supports for the self-employed; however, there are no details at this time
For more information on the various government assistance programs during COVID-19, click here.
– Baber Rahim, Tax Law Clerk & JD Candidate
© Kalfa Law 2020