There have been a lot of articles coming out lately about all the changes from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). These changes are meant to help Canadians who have become financially strapped during the pandemic. With about two million Canadians losing jobs in the month of April alone, anything helps.
One of these changes was for the CRA to push back the deadline for tax returns. Rather than Canadians having to file tax returns at the usual April 30, we now have until June 1, 2020 to file. This is of course fantastic news for those trying to figure out how to get through the current crisis, with taxes the last thing on their minds.
While June might seem far away, it’s only about three weeks away at writing – and you may encounter a few problems if you wait until the last minute to file your tax returns at the new June 1 deadline.
The CRA site
About a month ago, CRA gave Canadians the option of applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB allows those eligible to collect up to $500 per week for 16 weeks. Those eligible are Canadians who have lost their job, are waiting for Employment Insurance to kick in, or don’t have EI because they are self-employed, among other reasons.
However, the government created sign-up days for Canadians to try and stop the CRA site from crashing. There are two problems to address here. First, these days could still apply when you try to file. So if you try to file on a day that isn’t yours, you may be out of luck to file your deadline on time.
Second, if you can file on June 1, there will likely be thousands if not millions of others trying to do the same thing, potentially resulting on a crash of the CRA site. Again, your return won’t be filed on time.
Get in order
If you did apply for any benefits during this time or have had major changes due to the pandemic, make sure you have everything in order. It’s already a difficult time, and you won’t be able to just whip a tax return together.
There might be things you don’t understand because you’ve never applied for the benefits or CERB before. So if you don’t understand something, make sure to get in touch with the CRA.
That’s the other issue. The CRA is likely swamped with questions at the moment, never mind right at tax time. So if you have any questions, now is the time — not at the last second.
The final glaring reason you shouldn’t be waiting to file in June is the most obvious: You could be getting a refund! If you are, then why wait another second to file your return? Many online tools can connect to the CRA itself and fill in your information automatically.
The procedure is quite painless and can often take less than an hour to complete. That’s one hour and you’ll know if you’re actually getting money from the government, rather than paying it.
Even if you are paying taxes, there is another deadline extension you need to know. Canadians now have until August 31, 2020 to pay outstanding taxes. So again, there’s no excuse not to file on time.
Even if you are strapped for cash at the moment, you have months to get everything together — so heed the CRA’s warning, and file right away!
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