COVID-19 Update

I hope you are all making lemonade out of lemons, and doing your part in “physical distancing”, which I prefer to use instead of “social distancing”, because the success of our species is based on being social.

Below I have highlighted the different levels of government, City, Ontario, and Federal,  how and when you can get help. In addition, I have provided real-time experiences from clients, friends and government sources on their success in getting this help at the end of this email.

I am open for business as accounting is considered essential as per the Ontario notice below, and clients are making arrangements with me for drop-offs either in my e-courier drop box below, my secure client portal on my website, or my physical mailbox at home. I encourage everyone to protect any sensitive information they are sending me by email to use my e-courier drop box at the end of this email or my secure portal on my website. This drop off initiates a two-way email exchange between you and me for any sensitive information.

 

City

 

Extending the grace period for all property taxes, utility bills and late penalties for 60 days, and suspending any pre-authorized payments and post-dated cheques during this period

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/

 

Ontario

 

All non-essential businesses and services in Ontario will be legally -required to close as of 11:59 tonight, March 24, 2020. Click on the link below for the list of essential workplaces:
 

https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces#section-9

 

Federal

 

From my email on March 23, 2020, I highlighted the Federal response below:

  • For individuals, personal tax returns are not due until June 1, 2020, effective immediately,  and if you owe tax, you have until August 31 to pay the tax without interest and penalties.
  • For individuals getting Goods and Service Tax credits and Canada Child Benefits from filing your 2018 taxes, these benefits will be increased starting in May.
  • For individuals, banks have committed to delaying your mortgage payments on a case-by-case basis, effective immediately.
  • For individuals accessing Employment Insurance, the waiting period and medical certificate requirements are waived since March 15.
  • For parents with children who require care due to school closures, and unable to earn income, a flat payment of $900 every two weeks for 15 weeks will become available by applying online in April using CRA My Account, My Service Canada Account, or by calling a toll free number to be given.
  • For seniors, the required minimum withdrawals for Registered Requirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% effective immediately, so you don’t have to cash in 25% of your investments that have fallen in value from the volatile market.
  • For students repaying Canada Student Loans,  your loans will be interest-free for six months starting in April.
  • Both for individuals and businesses who do not qualify for EI sickness benefits, who are quarantined or sick themselves from Covid-19, or who are taking care of a family member who is sick with Covid-19, a flat payment of $900 every two weeks for 15 weeks will become available by applying online in April using CRA My Account, My Service Canada Account, or by calling a toll free number to be given.
  • For businesses, if the business owes income tax, the business has until August 31 to pay the tax without interest and penalties, effective immediately. Any changes to business tax filing deadlines will become available, but for now, assume the business tax filings have not changed.
  • For businesses, to help prevent lay-offs, there is wage subsidy for three months equal to 10% of the worker’s gross pay, up to a maximum of $1,375 per worker and $25,000 subsidies available per employer, effective immediately.
  • For businesses, there is increased access to credit, effective immediately; I can connect you with one of my contacts at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

For further detail on the above, please click on the link below:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Support_for_Businesses

 

From my discussions with clients, friends, and government sources, I would like to add the following real-time experiences, but be mindful that your experience could be different from another’s, as solutions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. It’s up to you to act!

  • With respect to increased access to credit noted above, in one case the business got a delay in existing loan payments, not an increase or new loan.
  • With respect to a client who tried to get an arrangement to delay his rent from a landlord (I shall not name the landlord, but is a large one), he was not successful 
  • Listening to Mayor Tory this morning, the city has no jurisdiction over enforcing rent delay, but suggested the Federal Government may come into play for this.
  • Thanks to my city councillor Jaye Robinson, in her COVID-19 update she provided the link for the 3-month wage subsidy provided by the Federal Government noted below and how it can be calculated and reduced from a business’ payroll remittance:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html?utm_source=Councillor+Robinson%27s+eNewsletter&utm_campaign=904533296d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_23_09_37&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_81f7bc586d-904533296d-118280565

  • Employment Insurance claims can be processed immediately without the usual wait time since March 15. If your bookkeeper has set up preparing and sending a Record of Employment to the government electronically, even better, as a hard copy does not have to be given to the employee, and submitted by the employee to the government.