On November 30, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided the government’s fall economic update. The fall economic update provided information on the government’s strategy both for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its plan to help shape the recovery. We’ve summarized the highlights for you.
Corporate Tax Changes
Information on several subsidy programs was included in the update. These changes apply from December 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021.
The government has provided an increase in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to a maximum of 75% of eligible wages.
If you are eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (eligibility is based on your revenue decline), you can claim up to 65% of qualified expenses.
The Lockdown Support Subsidy has also been extended – if you are eligible, you can receive a 25% subsidy on eligible expenses.
Also, there were two other significant corporate tax changes:
Starting January 1, 2022, the government plans to tax international corporations that provide digital services in Canada if no international consensus on appropriate taxation has been reached.
The tax deferral on eligible shares paid by a qualifying agricultural cooperative to its members has been extended to 2026.
Personal Tax Changes
The following personal tax changes were included in the update:
The update confirmed the government’s plan to impose a $200,000 limit (based on fair market value) on taxing employee stock options granted after June 2021 at a preferential rate. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) are not subject to these rules.
If you started working from home due to COVID-19, you could claim up to $400 in expenses.
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has temporarily been increased to include four additional payments. Depending on your income, you could receive up to $1200.
Additional modifications were proposed to how the “assistance holdback” amount is calculated for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). The goal of these modifications is to help RDSP beneficiaries who become ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit after 50 years of age.
Indirect Tax Changes
GST/HST changes impacting digital platforms were included in the update. They will be applicable as of July 1, 2021:
Foreign-based companies that sell digital products or services in Canada must collect and remit GST or HST on their taxable sales. Also, foreign vendors or digital platform operators with goods for sale via Canadian fulfillment warehouses must collect and remit GST/HST.
Short-term rental accommodation booked via a digital platform must charge GST/HST on their booking. The GST/HST rate will be based on the province or territory where the short-term accommodation is located.
And some good news on a GST/HST removal! As of December 6, and until further notice, the government will not charge GST/HST on eligible face masks and face shields.
A lot of changes came out of the fall update – and you may be feeling overwhelmed. But help is at hand!
Contact us to learn more about how these changes could impact your personal and business finances.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) $20,000 expansion available now
On July 17th, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced proposed changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) that will expand the number of businesses that qualify for the program.
The major changes he announced were:
“First, we’re proposing to extend this program through until December 19th.”
“Secondly, we know that it’s also critical that we have the businesses able to continue to hire people even as they get into the restart and we know that the requirements in businesses have a 30% reduction in revenue is not helpful in that regard.”
“businesses will get the wage subsidy if they’ve had any reduction in revenue so it’s going to go all the way down to businesses who even have a small amount of revenue reduction they’ll get the subsidy and it will be in proportion to the amount of the revenue reduction that they will get a subsidy.”
“Third, we’ve tailored the program so that it helps those organizations that are particularly hard hit. So for organizations with over a 50% reduction of revenue over the last few months they’ll actually get a top up, they’ll get up to 25% additional subsidy so that they can deal with this really challenging time for their businesses.”
“What that means for businesses, those that were already in the program that have that 30% revenue decline that will continue to be the case for July and August. For those businesses as I said that are particularly hard hit it will be even more. It will go up to 85% wage subsidy or $960 per person.”
“For those businesses less hard hit but still hit they will be able to get into the program. The program will continue but as we restart, the program will be tailored to help businesses appropriately in that restart.”
The new rules will be retroactive to July 5th but require parliamentary approval.
Great news for Canadians out of work and looking for work. The CERB will be extended another 8 weeks for a total of up to 24 weeks.
As the country begins to restart the economy, the Federal government will be making changes to the program to encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to get people back on the job. From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s website:
“The Government of Canada introduced the CERB to immediately help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so they could continue to put food on the table and pay their bills during this challenging time. As we begin to restart the economy and get people back on the job, Canadians receiving the benefit should be actively seekingwork opportunities or planning to return to work, provided they are able and it is reasonable to do so.
That is why the government will also make changes to the CERB attestation, which will encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches.”
More small businesses can apply for CEBA $40,000 no-interest loans
Applications for the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be accepted as of Friday, June 19th, 2020. Small businesses that are:
“… owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.”
“The funds from this loan shall only be used by the Borrower to pay non-deferrable operating expenses of the Borrower including, without limitation, payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax and regularly scheduled debt service, and may not be used to fund any payments or expenses such as prepayment/refinancing of existing indebtedness, payments of dividends, distributions and increases in management compensation.”
Lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19
The Application portal for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) opens at 8:00am EST on May 25th. The description from the CMHC website:
“Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:
reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants
meet operating expenses on commercial properties
Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.”
Due to expected high volumes of applications, the application dates will be as follows:
Monday – Property owners who are located in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program
Tuesday – Property owners who are located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program
Wednesday – All other property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories
Thursday – All other property owners in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec
“To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the commercial property owner must:
own commercial real property* which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants
enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020, reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%
ensure the rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant includes:
a moratorium on eviction for the period during which the property owner agrees to apply the loan proceeds, and
a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation
The commercial property owner is not and is not controlled by an individual holding federal or provincial political office.
CECRA will not apply to any federal-, provincial-, or municipal-owned properties, where the government is the landlord of the small business tenant.
Where there is a long-term lease to a First Nation, or Indigenous organization or government, the First Nation or Indigenous organization or government is eligible for CECRA for small businesses as a property owner.
Where there are long-term commercial leases with third parties to operate the property (for example, airports), the third party is eligible as the property owner.
Also eligible are post-secondary institutions, hospitals, and pension funds, as well as crown corporations with limited appropriations designated as eligible under CECRA for small businesses.
NOTE: Small businesses that opened on or after March 1, 2020 are not eligible.
* We define commercial Real Property as a commercial property with small business tenants. Commercial properties with a residential component and multi-unit residential mixed-use properties would equally be eligible with respect to their small business tenants.
NOTE: Properties with or without a mortgage are eligible under CECRA for small businesses.
What is an impacted small business tenant?
Impacted small business tenants are businesses —including non-profit and charitable organizations — that:
pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement)
generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level)
have experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues **
NOTE: Eligible small business tenants who are in sub-tenancy arrangements are also eligible, if these lease structures meet program criteria.
** Small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same period in 2019 to measure revenue losses. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020.“