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Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Impact on your taxes

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How CESB is taxed

CESB payment amounts are taxable. You must report the CESB 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.

If your income is tax exempt

The CESB is not exempt from tax under section 87 of the Indian Act.

For more details: Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples

What to do at tax time

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 your 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.

Verify COVID-19 amounts on your T4A

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 CESB amount is shown in box 198. Other COVID-19 benefit amounts are in boxes 197 to 204:

Find your T4A COVID-19 benefit box numbers
COVID-19 income sources
Box Description Tags

Add up each COVID-19 benefit payment amount you received from your T4A slip and enter the total amount on line 13000 of your tax return.

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.

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

Interest relief on your 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 CESB.

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.

Eligibility criteria for interest relief

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