Now that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Government assistance program is winding down, it is still unclear as to who needs to pay these benefits back. With that uncertainty, it is smart to know your options when the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) comes to collect.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) program was created by the government of Canada to provide financial assistance to employed and self-employed Canadians that were directly affected by COVID-19. These benefits helped provide financial security at a time when there was a lot of fear and uncertainty about the future. Now, thousands of Canadians have received letters from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) informing them that it’s time to repay the money they received. This means you’ll need to prepare yourself in case the CRA comes to collect. Here’s what you need to know.
YOU MAY NOT HAVE QUALIFIED FOR CERB
Many Canadians who didn’t qualify for the CERB still received payments. Others were eligible at one time but stopped qualifying for reasons that weren’t clear to them. This ambiguity is causing a lot of worry for Canadians who are currently being asked to repay the money received.
You should know that you’ll be required to reimburse the CRA if you were paid twice in error, didn’t file your taxes in 2019 or didn’t earn enough revenue in the previous tax year. To qualify for the CERB, you had to be employed or self-employed with an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to applying for it.
Unfortunately, this uncertainty and lack of communication have led many to fall deeper into financial debt as they were unaware they would have to pay back the CERB they received compounded with the high amounts of debt they already had pre-pandemic.
The CRA has now clarified that income from the following sources don’t qualify. If you find yourself falling under any one of the following categories whom did not qualify for financial aid, and are experiencing financial stress trying to pay off your debts, D. & A. MacLeod Company Ltd. Can help!
Not Qualified as Self-Employment Income:
• Pension Recipient • Student Loans and Bursaries Recipient • Maternity/Parental Leave Recipient • Disabilities Recipient • Individuals part of a Work-Share Agreement Recipient • EI Recipient • Family Support Worker (not with COVID-19) • Returned to Work Earlier than Expected & Receive Retroactive Pay
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS
CERB repayment scams are real. The CRA has warned Canadians that swindlers are approaching people and demanding they repay the money they received. Beware of fraudulent emails, texts and calls from individuals claiming to be from the CRA. The government will never ask you to send financial information by email, nor will they communicate through text or ask you to click on any links.
DID YOU RECEIVE THE CERB BENEFIT AND ARE UNABLE TO PAY IT BACK?
D. & A. Macleod Company Ltd. is a trusted bankruptcy and insolvency firm offering debt help to clients in Ottawa, Brockville, Cornwall, Kingston, Pembrooke, Smith Falls and surrounding areas. We provide personal and corporate solutions for insolvency issues. If you received the CERB in error and are unable to pay it back, our team of licensed insolvency trustees is available to review your case and help you find the best possible solution.