Last Updated: April 17, 2020 @ 1:21pm EDT
**P.S. your summary of direct links are just below. Look for the photo with the arrows**
On March 4, 2020, I had to hang my bookkeeping hat and choose a new hat to wear. This hat is one that I have never had to wear. To be honest, I didn’t even know I possessed it. If I had to give this hat a name it would probably be a soldier’s hat as I have stepped onto the front line of what I am calling “the financial battle cry of 2020.”
Before I share the information I have found, with links, timelines and deadlines, I want to lay a foundation of who I am, what I do and why I am writing this, because there could be Canadians reading this right now who don’t know me from Sam. So, who am I to help or listen to?
(If you already know me… keep scrolling to Let’s Get Started)
I have been a bookkeeper for 23 years. I have owned/operated my bookkeeping firm for 19 years. As well, I have my bookkeeping and accounting diplomas and currently serve over 50 small business owners, whose gross revenues range from $25,000 to $3 million a year. My services include all aspects of payroll, sales and payroll taxes, deadlines and business consulting. Over the past 10 years, I have serviced and supported over 10,000 business owners via in-person and online events/interactions.
On March 4th, I decided that it would be in the best interest of my clients to invest my time in learning what the government is doing to help businesses and families financially and to stay up to date with the daily happenings. My personal office has now become a resource centre for our bookkeeping firm’s clients. The month of March has seen me answering more questions, helping clients to figure out what is next, and this week alone I have spent over 47 hours on the phone with business owners, the government and the banks. COVID-19 has kept me so busy that I have not worked on a bookkeeping file since March 4, 2020.
Since I have been sharing the information and creating strategies with clients, more people are reaching out for help with their businesses and personal finance. Many are stating that the information given by the government is hard to follow and the websites are hard to understand and navigate. I would LOVE to have a phone call with everyone who is asking for help but I am unable to do so. So, if you are looking for help in navigating through all the ‘stuff’ you are in the right place.
Let’s Get To It
(Psst…everything in teal is a clickable link!)
My lawyer would like me to tell you the following: All information below is from government and news websites. Please note, I am posting it here for educational and entertainment value only. Its intent is to help you feel more confident in what the governments are offering. If you choose to use this information and the information within the links given, I am not held responsible for your personal decisions or outcomes. I am simply a friend who is spending a lot of time researching, listening and hearing the cries of business owners.
Here Are Your Quick Links
Simply click on the links below to get yourself to the website pages you need right away. Should you want to learn about each item, please scroll down as I explain each of them (and more) below.
CERB – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (April 6, 2020) The application for the CERB is now open. You can apply through your My CRA Account or by calling 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041. You will need your Social Insurance Number (SIN#) and Postal Code.
First, all the information from the Federal Government of Canada is available here:
Let’s Talk About Money Coming In
Canada’s Covid-19 Economic Response Plan – The CERB is for businesses and personal/families and the steps you need to take in order to gain the financial support that you need. The page I just linked is easy to navigate and to read. I am going to give you a few important links from this page and help you to understand what it may mean for you.
CERB – Canada Emergency Response Benefit
(for employees and self-employed)
CERB – If you are self-employed or a small business owner who has had to close your business because it has been affected by COVID-19 you will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The Government is stating that those who qualify will receive $2,000 a month for 4 months.
The application for the CERB is now open. You can apply through your My CRA Account or by calling 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041. You will need your Social Insurance Number (SIN#) and Postal Code. For direct deposit funds, the deposits are happening within 2-3 business days.
There are a few requirements that the Government is saying you need to have in order to qualify: Being 15 years of age or older, having $5,000 in income in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to COVID-19. To qualify, you have to be without income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period due to COVID-19 because you have temporarily stopped working. UPDATE: You can only apply for the CERB if you have made or expect less than $1,000 a month in income coming in the coming months. The Government would like to apply based on your birth month. This is as follows: Jan, Feb & Mar will apply on Mondays, Apr, May & Jun will apply on Tuesdays, Jul, Aug & Sep will apply on Wednesdays and Oct, Nov & Dec will apply on Thursdays. Anyone can apply on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. **You will need to apply every month.
Below I will go through the how-to for creating your My CRA Account.
Increasing the CCB (Child Care Benefit) – The Government is stating that they are increasing the CCB payment for May 2020 by adding $300 per child to the payment. If you have not filed your 2018 (yes, 2018) tax return, you may want to do this asap as this is how the Government calculates the CCB. And if you have not filed your 2018 you will also be back paid for the 2019-2020 year. You can log into your My CRA Account to access your CCB information.
Increasing the GST Tax Credit –The Government is stating that they are increasing the GST Tax Credit starting April 9, 2020. This is for low-income families. They say the amount will be close to $400 for individuals and close to $600 for couples. Receiving the GST Tax Credit is also calculated using your 2018 tax return. The is no need to apply for this credit. If you are eligible you will automatically receive it.
UPDATE: (April 4, 2020) The GST Tax Credit payment will begin being directly deposited into bank accounts on April 9, 2020. Up to $400 for individuals, $600 for couples and then $150 per child.
Ontario Child Tax Credit – The Provincial Government said that they are going to offer one-time payments to families affected by school and daycare closures. The credit will be $200 per child 12 years of age and younger and $250 for those children who are considered to have special needs. You can find the Ontario Government’s announcement on this page: Ontario News. Scroll down approximately a third way down. It is in the first bullet point, under People and Jobs.
UPDATE: (April 5, 2020) Here is the link to register for the Ontario Child Tax Credit. You will need your child(ren)’s information, the parents (only 1 parent can apply) information and the direct deposit information for your bank account. Application is now OPEN>
How To Open or Access The My CRA Account for Individuals
You can watch this video on how to register for your account: How to Register for the CRA My Account
** Make sure you register for everyone in your household who qualifies, as they will need their own account.
*** Also, please note that once you go through the registration process, you will have a 5 to 10 day waiting period as you will be receiving a special code in the mail (Canada Post) to verify your identity.
Again, here is the link to My CRA Account
Other Provincial Credits and Financial Help – CTV News has a great article sharing the information they have been provided on what all the Provinces and Territories are doing to help.
For Your Business
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – The Federal Government announced they are launching a 75% wage subsidy for the small businesses that remain open and who have staff on payroll. The time-frame for the subsidy is 3-months, backdated to March 15, 2020. There is a lot of information around this subsidy. I would advise you to click the link (CEWS) and read through it. I will touch on a few pieces below.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced that in order for a business to be eligible for the 75% Wage Subsidy, the business must have a 30% or more decrease in sales due to COVID-19. The subsidy will cover up to $847 per week per employee to a maximum of $58,700. It does not matter how many employees you have on your payroll. The subsidy is being backdated to March 15, 2020.
To qualify for this subsidy, a business will need a 15% or more decrease in sales will be shown by reviewing the March 2020 sales vs. March 2019 sales OR, instead of March 2019, a business can use an average of January and February 2020. For example, If a business had $100,000 in sales in either March 2019 OR an average of January 2020 & February 2020, the sales for March 2020 would have to be $85,000 or lower. The first period of time runs March 15, 2020, to April 11, 2020.
For the periods of:
April 11, 2020, to May 9, 2020, you will need a decrease in sales of 30% or more and you will use April 2019 sales OR an average of January and February 2020.
May 10, 2020, to June 6, 2020, you will need a decrease in sales of 30% or more and you will use May 2019 sales OR an average of January and February 2020.
**The Government is also refunding the Employer portion of the CPP and EI for those employees that are being paid while they are on leave.
Revenue Canada will open an online portal in the next 3 to 6 weeks for businesses to apply online for the subsidy. It is in the best interest of the business to make sure they are set up for direct deposit so that they can receive the funds, from Revenue Canada, as soon as possible.
Revenue would like the business to try and pay the additional 25% to its employees. However, it is not necessary.
Also, If you do NOT qualify for the 75% Wage Subsidy, you may continue to qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10% of the remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020. This is up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. This amount is to be deducted from the income tax on your PD7A remittance.
Canada Emergency Business Account – The Federal Government announced on Friday, March 27, 2020, that it is working with EDC (Export Development Canada) to provide interest-free loans to small businesses to up $40,000. For those who qualify, if the loan is paid in full on or before December 31, 2022, it will result in loan forgiveness of 25%, up to $10,000. << Meaning… if you pay back the loan on or before December 31, 2022 deadline you will be able to keep the 25%. Also, the $40,000 loan is at 0% interest as long as it is paid back by December 31, 2022, and $10,000 of the $40,000 will be forgiven. This loan is actually a line of credit for your business.
You can apply through your online banking portal or mobile app. You will need your CRA Payroll #, ending in RP0001 (or 0002) and the T4 summary stating the amount in box 14.
UPDATE: To qualify for the CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account) a business will need to show that they paid $20,000 to $1.5 Million in total payroll in 2019.
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) – You are probably hearing about the BDC & EDC loans. The BCAP is the same thing. How to access these loans/funds is to contact your business bank advisor and ask them about it. They will assess your situation and the amount that you are asking for. If they cannot provide you with the funds you require, they will call the BDC / EDC to support you. I recommend you have your financial statements prepared and ready to go, as chances are they will be asking for them.
There is also the new Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the new Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. You will need to contact your business bank advisor to inquire about these options. Basically, the BDC and EDC are insuring/backing the banks to lend small and medium-sized businesses money.
UPDATE: (March 29,2020) These programs will roll out 3 weeks after March 27, 2020.
In “Sara Terms,” if you need money for your business, contact your business bank advisor to inquire about how they can help you. Again, you will probably need your 2019 bookkeeping completed so that you can offer up your financial information.
Let’s Talk About Money That Is Currently Going Out
Now is the time to review your personal and business payments.
GST/HST Payments Deferred – The Federal Government has announced they are deferring all GST/HST remittances payments due March 15, 2020 to May 31, 2020, to be paid on June 30, 2020. This means no interest is charged should you not pay your HST/GST on your due dates. Please note: that the Government has not mentioned whether or not the return deadlines have been deferred. As of today, March 28, 2020, I recommend that you still file your GST/HST returns by the due dates so that you do not incur a late remittance penalty. Please note: the amounts you choose to defer will ALL be due on June 30, 2020.
For all the details, please visit the link above.
Ontario WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) – The Ontario Government has deferred all WSIB payments to August 31, 2020. They are also not going to charge interest on outstanding amounts. Here is an excerpt from the Ontario website: “the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments. They will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period. There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.”
Should you choose to take advantage of this option, you do not need to contact or inform WSIB that you are doing so. The press release does not say whether or not the filing of the returns are also deferred. I recommend that you file your returns for the due dates you are given. This way you are not subject to a late filing penalty. Please remember that all the amounts/payments you defer will need to be paid on August 31, 2020.
Other Business Payments to Review
- Check-in with your landlord or mortgage company to see if you can defer your monthly payment and for how long.
- Check-in with your business insurance advisor and ask them if you qualify for any claims. If your business is not open, ask if there is a decrease in premium fees as you are not operating. (Please note this is simply an idea. I am not advising you of doing anything here, especially to cancel your insurance. I am simply stating that you may be paying for insurance that you cannot use right now).
- Review your on-going monthly expenses. Especially the monthly payments for services you are automatically paying, but may not be using right now. Things like scheduling tools, subscriptions and other items that you may have forgotten about. Connect with the company and ask what type of relief they are offering.
- Review all expenses and see which ones you can remove for the time being. Whether it be meals, entertainment, office supplies, advertising, computer support, etc. Look at EVERY expense and decide whether or not it is needed during this difficult time.
Deadlines For Businesses
Business Income Tax – The Government is allowing all businesses to defer income tax payments until August 31, 2020, This includes any amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020. This applies tax balances due and installment payments. The payment for the 2019 corporate tax return is due September 1, 2020. No interest or penalties will be charged if the balance is paid by this date.
Corporate Year-end Filings – the deadlines and due dates for the filing of the annual corporate returns remain the same unless a corporation has a filing due date after March 18 and before June 1, 2020. Payments have been extended to September 1, 20202, and only applies to balances and instalments due on or after March 18 and before September 1, 2020.
Self-employed and their spouse or common-law partner – The tax filing deadline remains the same, June 15, 2020. The payment for the 2019 personal tax return is due September 1, 2020. No interest or penalties will be charged if you pay your balance by this date.
The five big banks (Scotiabank, CIBC, TD, RBC and BMO) are offering to review your mortgage and see if they can help in the way of deferring mortgage payments. I am hearing that most people are receiving 6-months of payment deferrals, others are receiving 3-months. So, it is a case-by-case decision. From what I have been told by 3 of the 6 banks is the following:
- Deferring will not affect your credit score.
- You can remove the deferral at any time.
- The interest is added to the balance of your mortgage and your mortgage payment is recalculated.
Again, this is what I have been told – this is information ONLY. You will need to contact your bank for all of the details.
The five big banks and other financial institutions that hold loans for vehicles are reviewing their clients’ files and situations to defer auto loan payments for up to 3-months. You will need to contact your loan holder and ask them how they can help you.
I have yet to hear what is being offered for auto leases.
Credit Card Payments
I have discovered that every card type and bank are handling credit card payments differently. Many are offering to defer payments up to 3-months. The banks are offering to cut interest rates. Please contact your bank to inquire about your options.
Tip: If you have a high-interest rate credit card, ask about changing to a lower interest card or possibly transferring your credit card(s) to a low-interest line of credit.
Connecting With Your Bank
Here is how you can connect with the big 5 to find out more and to defer your mortgage payments, vehicle payments and learn more about how to gain support for your credit cards. Simply click on the bank name to access the contact information.
Other Personal Payments to Review
Now is the time to review your expenses and see which ones you can remove for the time being. Whether it be meals, entertainment, subscriptions, gym memberships, and items that you are paying for that are not a necessity right now. Look at EVERY expense and decide whether or not it is needed during this difficult time.
Deadline for Personal
Personal Tax Returns – The 2019 personal tax returns are now due June 1, 2020. The payment for the 2019 personal tax return is due September 1, 2020. No interest or penalties will be charged if you pay your balance by this date.
To Wrap Up
Even though the world around us has pretty much stopped, as you can see from above, there are many options, ideas and decisions to review and take advantage of so we can get through this insane time. Take every opportunity that you feel is right for you, to help you through. One day we will look back on this and say, “I remember when…” and share our crazy stories! Including stories of running out of toilet paper, people wearing gloves and masks to the grocery store and how we got through it. I promise you, this will become a time where we will look back and either feel grateful for what we learned and how we coped or we will look back and feel discouragement and upset because we didn’t do everything we could to make it through.
I have a few resources available to you and I have listed them here. Please note: two are still in process and I will update this page with a clickable link when they are made available.
Sara’s Cash Flow Template (FREE resource): What if I told you that you can learn everything you need to know to help you to make the right financial decisions for you, your family and your business right now? Check it out…it is free.
Sara is sharing during an online Mompreneurs meeting: Join us for this online presentation where we will offer insights on how to manage financially through these uncertain times. Mompreneurs® COO Sara Clarke will explore cash flow, mindset, thinking outside the box to boost sales, and ways to extend credit for your business… OPEN TO ALL!
Preparing for a Financial Battle Cry: When the 2008-2009 recession hit, our family and business was hit. But because of the plan we put in place and the choices we made, we are doing better than fine during COVID-19. I want to share the HOW behind creating this plan so you too can prepare in case something like this should ever happen again.
30-day Bookkeeping Challenge: With the tax season upon us and, due to COVID-19, possibly needing to apply for loans, NOW is the time to get your 2019 AND 2020 bookkeeping organized, inputted and ready to produce for those who will be requesting it. I have decided to launch a 30-Day Bookkeeping Challenge. During this challenge, I will hold your hand and coach you through everything bookkeeping to get you ready for taxes and the loan submissions. I will also help you create a plan so that you can move forward soaring like an eagle rather than sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich. The fee is $97 CDN (taxes in). If you want to be the 1st to know about the release, please drop your email address HERE and I will email you when we launch the program.