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Resuming business activities: CRA and COVID-19

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The Government temporarily suspended some programs and services, including many collection and compliance activities, to support Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a commitment to resuming business activities, some of the CRA’s programs and services will return as of September 2020.

As a result, you may receive a call or letter from us, with a specific call to action.

Protect yourself against fraud

As business is resuming, it is important to remind you that the CRA will never use aggressive language, threaten you with jail time, or demand payment by gift cards.

Learn how to recognize a scam and protect yourself from fraud.

Programs that are returning

  • 2021
  • November 2020

    Audits

    Who is affected

    Businesses

    What we're doing

    Starting in November 2020, the CRA is resuming audit activities such as:

    • all small business audits, specifically related to income tax and GST/HST, as well as GST/HST desk audits.
    • registered plans, including employee pension plans, retirement savings plans, retirement income funds, deferred profit sharing plans, supplementary unemployment benefit plans, education savings plans, disability savings plans, tax-free savings accounts, registered investments and pooled pension plans.

    What this means for you

    • Small business enterprises may receive a letter to inform and educate them on common areas of non-compliance.
    • Plan providers may receive a letter to educate them on common areas of non-compliance.
    • Errors found may not result in a re-assessment, but rather in an information review with the business, and be revisited for correction in future years.

  • October 2020

    Audits

    Who is affected

    Businesses

    What we're doing

    Starting in October, medium business audits will resume, except for audits in the GST/HST Special Audits Program, which include non-profit organizations and charities, and MUSH sectors (Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals).

    What this means for you

    • Medium enterprises may receive a letter to inform and educate them on common areas of non-compliance.
    • Errors found may not result in a re-assessment, but rather in an information review with the business, and be revisited for correction in future years.

    Learn more

    Benefits validation

    Who is affected

    Individuals Businesses

    What we're doing

    The CRA will conduct benefits validation review to make sure that Canadians are receiving benefits they are entitled to.

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has been committed to ensuring Canadians had the financial support they needed. In addition to administering emergency support benefits like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Emergency Student Benefit and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the CRA continued to issue benefit and credit payments to individuals who had not yet filed their 2019 tax return.

    We based payment amounts on information from 2018 tax returns if the 2019 tax return had not been filed or assessed yet.

    What this means for you

    • If you still haven’t filed your 2019 tax return, you need to do so as soon as possible to avoid any future interruptions to your CCB and/or GST/HST credit payments.
    • Once your 2019 tax return is filed and assessed, your payments will be reinstated if you’re still eligible for the CCB and/or the GST/HST credit.
    • If you are a benefit recipient, we may contact you to ask for information to validate your claim.
    • If you are applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Canada Emergency Student Benefit and receive a notification that your application can’t be processed, you may have to provide further information to validate your application. Once the supporting information is provided, the CRA will conduct a review of your benefits application, and send you a determination letter with the decision.
    • Should you have to repay your benefits, we may be able help by setting up a repayment arrangement.

    Compliance activities

    Who is affected

    Businesses

    What we're doing

    The GST/HST Delinquent Filer program will begin, which will hold refunds on non-compliant GST/HST registrants, and address chronic and high-risk delinquent filers.

    What this means for you

    • If you are identified as a GST/HST Delinquent Filer, you may be assessed by the CRA.

  • September 2020

    Appeals

    Who is affected

    Individuals Businesses Charities

    What we're doing

    The CRA’s dispute resolution and taxpayer relief programs are resuming operations. We are currently contacting taxpayers who filed objections or CPP/EI appeals to the Minister, or who applied for relief of penalties and interest. We will also be activating CPP/EI rulings.

    We will strive to be flexible with deadlines to submit supporting documents, recognizing taxpayers’ unique circumstances. Taxpayers are encouraged to use the CRA’s electronic portals to submit documents.

    What this means for you

    • You may be contacted about a filed:
      • objection
      • CPP/EI appeal
      • application for relief of penalties and interest
    • There may be delays finalizing your request due to COVID-19. We appreciate your patience as we address all requests.

    Audits

    Who is affected

    Businesses Charities

    What we're doing

    Earlier this summer, the CRA resumed a full range of audit work, adapting our practices to reflect the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. We are prioritizing actions that benefit the taxpayer, including situations where a taxpayer indicates it is urgent to advance their audit.

    We are also focusing on:

    • higher dollar audits first
    • audits close to completion
    • audits with a strategic importance to the Government of Canada, provinces and territories, or our tax treaty partners
    • efforts to combat suspected fraud and other criminal activity

    Beginning in September, the CRA’s business audits will focus on:

    • complex and aggressive tax planning arrangements using partnerships and trusts by sophisticated and high income earners
    • Audits in the real estate sector aim to combat offensive non-compliance prevalent in Vancouver and Toronto areas.

    The CRA’s Charities Directorate will also being contacting charities to:

    • resume ongoing charity audits
    • begin Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy post-payment audits
    • begin new audits to address highest risk areas

    What this means for you

    • Small and medium enterprises may receive a letter to educate them on common areas of non-compliance.
    • Errors found may not result in a re-assessment, but rather in an information review with the business, and be revisited for correction in future years.

    Charity revocations

    Who is affected

    Charities

    What we're doing

    The CRA’s Charities Directorate will begin processing revocations for failure to comply with the requirements of charity registration. This is a longstanding practice that helps to ensure charities meet their filing and reporting obligations. Where a charity has consistently failed to file and has not responded to notices from the CRA, their registration may be revoked. The revocations will relate to reporting periods that predate the COVID-19 pandemic.

    What this means for you

    • Your charity may receive a letter by registered mail explaining the reasons why we intend to revoke your charity’s registration. The letter will also include your objection and appeal rights.

    Collections

    Who is affected

    Individuals Businesses

    What we're doing

    Collections officers or agents from the debt management call centre will begin contacting individuals and businesses with a balance owing to discuss and re-evaluate their financial situation. The officer may request payment of the debt, or offer a payment arrangement, where possible.

    What this means for you

    • You may receive a call or a letter from us about an outstanding balance.
    • Should you owe money, we may be able help by setting up a payment arrangement.

    Compliance activities

    Who is affected

    Individuals Businesses Charities

    What we're doing

    As an agency, we are committed to providing a fair tax administration to Canadians. To ensure all taxpayers comply with their tax obligations, we will contact individuals and businesses that have not filed, or may have improperly filed their tax returns. Our compliance activities include:

    • individual income tax reviews
    • business compliance reviews
    • information audits
    • non-resident compliance activities

    What this means for you

    • If you have not filed your individual or business tax return, or may have filed improperly, you may receive a call or letter from the CRA.
    • We are taking an educational approach to help you file and correct your return.
    • Errors found may not result in a re-assessment, but rather in an information review where we can review any errors with you, so that they are corrected in future years.
    • In-person services are available virtually, like:
      • free tax clinics for individuals
      • the liaison officer service for businesses
    • You may receive an automated call from the CRA to remind you of upcoming business filing requirements.

    Outreach activities

    Who is affected

    Individuals Businesses Charities

    What we're doing

    Outreach activities will continue to be available virtually. Some of these activities include:

    • free virtual tax clinics
    • virtual meetings with our outreach officers
    • virtual liaison officer service
    • the individual tax filing assistance initiative
    • the Charities Education Program (CEP)

    What this means for you

    • Activities may be offered virtually.
    • If you have not filed your 2019 income tax and benefit return, you may receive a phone call from a CRA employee to assist you in filing your return.
    • Your charity may receive a call from the CRA for a CEP virtual visit.
    • The CRA may reach out to your business with information to assist you in meeting your compliance obligations.

  • 2016
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