It’s spring – the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and it’s time to mow the lawn. Inhaling the fresh morning air, life almost seems normal again. But as you get in your car, adjust your mask and drive to your scheduled curbside pick-up – you’re reminded that nothing is normal this year.
Summer fun has been officially cancelled. Vacations, kids camps, graduations and birthday parties, the Calgary stampede, concerts, sports, fairs…all cancelled. Will school resume in June or September? Don’t know. Will your office continue to work remotely? Don’t know. Will you ever be able to afford the airfare for a family vacation abroad again? The future is uncertain.
In this pandemic world, never were the words of Benjamin Franklin more true: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
So about that. Unfortunately, taxes have not been cancelled, merely postponed. Remember, it’s your tax dollars that have made the current Canadian Emergency Relief Benefits (CERB) possible. According to CTV News, the federal government has so far provided “$27 billion in direct assistance to Canadian workers and families, as well as making $55 billion available in liquidity to businesses to help stabilize the economy.”
Rather than the usual April 30 deadline, the personal tax deadline has been moved to June 1, 2020. If you’re owing, income tax payments can be made up until September 2020, with no interest or penalties.
There are of course, a few reasons of enlightened self-interest for getting your taxes in. First off, there is the chance for a quick refund. Refunds are promised to be issued faster than ever this year, particularly if you e-file and you’re hooked up with direct deposit.
Secondly, while short-term boosts to child benefits and GST/HST credits are being doled out based on 2018 income tax filings, getting your 2019 taxes filed will ensure you’re set up and ready for any next wave of benefits as we move into 2021.
However, watch out for a few glitches in the way. Collecting your 2019 tax slips from employers, schools, childcare facilities and charities, may be an issue. For 2020 tax planning, self-employed workers who pay themselves annual salaries, and who have lost significant income in 2020, have the complexity of choosing to take CERB payments as an individual or as an employer.
These are good questions to work through with an accountant – and easy enough to do so over a call, video conference or email. During these wild times, it can help a lot to know a professional is there to help you navigate all the certainties and uncertainties of this brave new world.