Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) with CRA
Impact on your taxes
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How CERB is taxed
CERB payment amounts are taxable. You must report the CERB amounts that you receive as income when you file your personal income tax return. How much tax you must pay will depend on how much income you earned.
What to do at tax time
CERB with CRA
The CRA will provide you with a T4A tax information slip at tax time for the CRA-administered COVID-19 benefit amounts you received in 2020. Your T4A slip will also be available in CRA My Account.
Quebec residents will get both a T4A slip and a RL-1 slip.
Verify your tax slips
All COVID-19 benefits that you received from the CRA in 2020 will be shown on one T4A slip.
If you applied for multiple benefits or made repayments, verify that the amounts on your T4A slip are correct before you report them in your tax return.
Provincial or territorial COVID-19 financial assistance payments will be on separate T4A slips.
Report your T4A amounts on your tax return
If you received a T4A slip, your CERB amount is shown in box 197. Other COVID-19 benefit amounts are in boxes 197 to 204:
In the space to the left of line 13000, specify the type of income you’re reporting. For those filing by paper, attach a list of all the benefits you received.
CERB with Service Canada
If you received the CERB from Service Canada, you will receive a T4E slip at tax time or you may also get your T4E information from My Service Canada Account.
Quebec residents will get both a T4E and a T4E(Q) slip.
Verify your tax slips
All CERB benefit amounts from Service Canada, or any Employment Insurance (EI) benefit payments that you received in 2020, will be shown on a T4E slip.
Report your T4E amounts on your tax return
CERB benefit payment amounts received from Service Canada are included in box 14 of your T4E slip.
The total amount in box 14 includes your CERB amounts along with other employment insurance benefits.
Steps for reporting T4E amounts on your tax return
- Find your total benefits paid amount in box 14 of your T4E slip
- If you are not eligible to receive tax exempt benefits under the Indian Act, take the amount in box 14 and subtract any amount from box 18 (under "Other information" on your T4E slip)
- Enter the subtracted amount on line 11900 on your return
If your income is tax exempt
If your income is eligible for tax exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act, your CERB payments may be tax exempt. Your CERB payments will be taxed (or not) in the same way as the income that entitled you to the benefit.
- If all your income was tax exempt during the time you earned the $5,000 income requirement (in 2019 or the last 12 months), then the benefit is also tax exempt.
- If your income during that time was not fully tax exempt, you may have some tax to pay.
If you are not sure if your income is tax exempt, or need more details:
Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples
Penalties and interest
File your tax return before the due date to avoid late-filing penalties and any disruption in receiving your other benefits and credits.
The late-filing penalty is 5% of your 2020 balance owing, plus an additional 1% for each month that you are late (up to a maximum of 12 months).
Interest relief on 2020 taxes owing will be given to people who have a total taxable income of $75,000 or less in 2020, and received at least one COVID-19 benefit in 2020, such as the CERB.
Late-filing penalty charges still apply and are not part of this interest relief.
You must file your 2020 tax return to qualify for interest relief.
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