Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19)

The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) (TLOPA), enacted under Bill C-20, received Royal Assent July 27, 2020.

Overview

Under the TLOPA, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been given a temporary authority to extend certain deadlines imposed under the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act through the issuance of a Ministerial Order. The period of extension is a maximum of six months and can begin as early as March 13, 2020 and ending no later than December 31, 2020.

As a result, the TLOPA impacts taxpayers and registrants whose tax filings would otherwise be statute-barred and it may also impact certain requests for an extension of time to file an objection where the deadline would have normally expired. "Statute-barred" in general terms means immune from reassessment due to the passage of time, except in certain situations such as gross negligence or intentional misrepresentations.

The TLOPA also impacts taxpayers who file scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) claims with the CRA, by extending their SR&ED reporting deadline by the maximum allowed by this legislation. For more information on the deadline extension see What's new – SR&ED Program.

Frequently asked questions

Why does the CRA need to have certain deadlines extended?

Like many individuals and organizations, the CRA has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past several months, the CRA has focused on delivering critical services, including benefits, to Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, taxpayers needed extra time to respond to CRA compliance questions. As a result, the CRA may need additional time to finalize compliance activities, including reviews and audits.

When does the extension apply in the context of an income tax compliance audit?

The extension to the statute-barred date applies where a taxpayer's income tax return would have otherwise become statute-barred from assessment, reassessment or additional assessment on or after May 20, 2020 and before December 31, 2020.

When does the extension apply in the context of a GST/HST compliance audit?

The extension applies where a GST/HST reporting period would otherwise become statute-barred from assessment, reassessment or additional assessment on a day that is on or after May 20, 2020 and before December 31, 2020.

What about reporting periods or taxation years that have already become statute-barred since the start of the pandemic in March 2020?

Similar to the coming into force of many tax provisions, the temporary authority under the TLOPA takes into consideration the date on which the draft legislation was announced, which was May 19, 2020. Therefore, reporting periods and taxation years which became statute-barred on or before May 19, 2020 are not covered under the Ministerial Orders.

How long are the statute-barred deadlines extended for?

The legislation allows for the extension of these deadlines for a maximum of six months but not beyond December 31, 2020. For example, a tax return that would normally become statute-barred on September 30, 2020 will not become statute-barred until December 31, 2020. In contrast, a return that would otherwise have been statute-barred on May 31, 2020, will become statute-barred on November 30, 2020.

Will I know if a CRA auditor is relying on a Ministerial Order in my situation?

Generally, taxpayers would be informed of the details of a potential (re)assessment, including whether or not the CRA is applying an extension to a (re)assessment period under the Ministerial Order, by the auditor. Any questions about the timing or reasons for a (re)assessment should be addressed with the CRA auditor/employee or their direct supervisor.

Has the time limitation for filing a Notice of Objection been extended?

The deadline extension under the TLOPA only applies to requests for an extension of time to file a Notice of Objection. Beyond the temporary measure that was last updated on July 3, 2020, the deadline for filing a Notice of Objection has not been extended. The standard deadline for filing a Notice of Objection has not changed from the later of:

  • one year after the tax filing deadline for the return; or
  • 90 days from the date of the notice of assessment or determination.

For more information on filing a Notice of Objection including requests for an extension of time, go to File an Objection.

How does the extension of time allowed under the Ministerial Orders apply to requests for an extension of time to file a Notice of Objection with the CRA?

A request to CRA for an extension of time can generally be made up to one year after the deadline to file the objection. Under the TLOPA, taxpayers and registrants whose deadline to request an extension of time to file a Notice of Objection to a (re)assessment expired between March 13, 2020 and December 30, 2020 will have up to six additional months, but not beyond December 31, 2020, to make their request. For example, a taxpayer or registrant whose deadline to make a request for an extension of time to object to a (re)assessment was March 13, 2020 will now have until September 13, 2020 to make their request. Similarly, a taxpayer or registrant with a September 30, 2020 deadline will have until December 31, 2020 to make their request.

Taxpayers and registrants whose deadline to request an extension of time to file a Notice of Objection to an assessment or reassessment expires after December 30, 2020 will not receive an extension of time to make their request.

How does the extension of time allowed under the Ministerial Orders apply to requests to the Tax Court of Canada for an extension of time to object to a (re)assessment?

Taxpayers and registrants whose deadline to apply to the Tax Court of Canada for an extension of time to object to a (re)assessment expired between March 13, 2020 and December 30, 2020 will have up to six additional months, but not beyond December 31, 2020, to make their request. For example, a taxpayer or registrant whose deadline to make a request for an extension of time to object to a (re)assessment was March 13, 2020 will have until September 13, 2020 to make their request. Similarly, a taxpayer or registrant with a September 30, 2020 deadline will have until December 31, 2020 to make their request.

Taxpayers and registrants whose deadline to request an extension of time to file a Notice of Objection to an assessment or reassessment expires after December 30, 2020 will not receive an extension of time to make their request.

Does this extension apply to the time limits found under Canada’s tax treaties?

No, the legislation does not apply to Canada’s tax treaties and does not allow for the extension of any time limit to raise an adjustment that may be contained in Canada’s tax treaties. For the same reason, the legislation also does not allow for the extension of any time limit that may apply for notifying a treaty partner of the (potential) double tax arising from an adjustment. Similarly, the legislation does not extend the period during which a request for competent authority assistance can be made under the Mutual Agreement Procedure of Canada’s treaties.

Additional Information

Department of Finance News Release

Minister of National Revenue Orders in respect of the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID 19)

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