CRA to help Canadians through a tax season like no other

eAwaz Local News

Ottawa – Over the past year, Canadians have faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many have had to adapt to changes at work and at home. The Government of Canada understands how difficult this situation continues to be and is taking measures to support Canadians through it.

February 22 marks the official launch of the 2021 Tax Season and individuals can now file their 2020 income tax and benefit return. Filling a return is essential to ensure individuals and families continue to receive the benefits and credits they deserve.

Due to the extraordinary conditions we have all faced over the last year, this tax season will be unlike any other. For the millions of Canadians accessing the Government of Canada’s emergency and recovery benefits to make ends meet over the last year, the numerous essential workers who are keeping the economy afloat, and the countless people who are doing their part by limiting their interactions with others, the Government of Canada will continue to support you.

In this spirit, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has taken steps to accommodate those who need extra assistance when filing their taxes this year. For example, the CRA is:

Adding more call centre agents and extending call hours to give taxpayers more time to have their tax and benefit questions answered;
Providing a targeted interest relief for Canadians who received COVID-19 related income support benefits, giving them more time and flexibility to pay if they have an amount owing;
Expanding payment arrangement parameters to provide Canadians more time and flexibility to repay a tax debt—those who are in difficult financial situations who find themselves owing money can call a CRA agent for help, toll-free at 1-888-863-8657 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern time, Monday to Friday (except holidays);
Helping employees cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by making the deduction for home office expenses more accessible and easier to claim;
Supporting community organizations who offer free virtual tax help to individuals with modest income and a simple tax situation through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP);
Offering a new pilot program to offer grants to CVITP and Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program (IVATP) clinics to help them with the costs of running community tax clinics;
Offering a Liaison Officer service that provides free personalized virtual visits by phone or videoconference to small business owners and self-employed individuals to help them understand their tax obligations.
The CRA knows that Canadians expect a secure, easy, convenient, and fair tax system. While individuals and families continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, the CRA is committed to putting people first.

“Our government will continue to support Canadians through the current public health crisis. With the CRA’s commitment to putting people first, they will ensure that Canadians are treated fairly and with respect this filing season. The CRA understands that, due to COVID-19, individuals might find it stressful to do their taxes. However, filing on time will ensure you keep receiving critical benefits and credits, such as the Canada child benefit, the Climate Action Incentive, or GST credit payments.” – Diane Lebouthillier, MP, Minister of National Revenue