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Ottawa announces breaks for CERB and other COVID-19 benefit recipients

·2 min read
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Covid-19 briefing at the Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, on December 18, 2020. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Covid-19 briefing at the Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario (Getty Images)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says people who received COVID-19 benefits like the Canada Emergency Benefit (CERB), or mistook gross and net income when applying, are getting a break.

“We’re providing one year without interest on certain 2020 tax debt, giving people more flexibility repaying amounts owing from last year,” he said during a news conference.

“If you received federal emergency benefits like the CERB, and you made up to $75,000 in taxable income, you will not have to pay interest on 2020 tax debt until April of next year.”

The other reprieve is for those who mixed up gross and net income, and were subsequently told they would have to return money to the government.

“People who accessed CERB based on their gross income instead of their net income, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria, you will not have to return those CERB payments.”

The federal government says anyone in that situation who already repaid money owing will be reimbursed. It also says it doesn't have an estimate of how much today's measures will cost.

With tax filing season around the corner, the Prime Minister also urged everyone to file their taxes.

"It’s important to file your taxes so you get things like the Canada Child Benefit, the work from home deduction, and the climate action incentive,” he said. “These benefits and credits can really help, especially after such a tough year.”

He also reminded Canadians about the other benefits still available including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and enhanced EI, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSC), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and business loans.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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