The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on Friday, November 4, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa extends tax payment deadline once again

Canada’s federal tax collection agency announced Monday that it is extending once again the payment deadline for federal taxes and is offering interest relief on taxes owed to Ottawa amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said it is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, 2020.

Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of Sept. 30, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty as long as the return is filed by Sept. 30 of this year, the tax agency said in a press release.

The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns, the news release said.

“While this measure for existing tax debts does not cancel penalties and interest already assessed on a taxpayer’s account prior to this period, it ensures that a taxpayer’s existing tax debt does not continue to grow through interest charges during this difficult time,” the agency added.

The government extended this year’s tax filing deadline from April 30 to June 1 to reckon with the impacts of COVID-19. Canadians were also told they had until Sept. 1 to pay what they owe without any interest or penalty.

However, with the deadline having come and gone, the CRA is encouraging Canadians to file as soon as possible to ensure their benefits don’t get disrupted.

“This is particularly important for individuals receiving credits and benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit,” the agency said.

To ensure Canadians continue to receive their benefits and credits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRA temporarily suspended interruptions for those who were unable to file their income tax and benefit return by the June 1 deadline, it added.

Currently, if a 2019 individual tax return has not been assessed, the CRA is calculating benefits and/or credits for the July to September 2020 payments based on information from 2018 tax returns.

“However, if 2019 individual tax returns are not received and assessed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and/or credits will stop in October 2020 and individuals may have to repay the amounts that were issued as of July 2020,” the agency said.

Two million Canadians could have their benefits interrupted if they don’t file their 2019 tax return by early September, the agency has warned.

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