Agency adding more call centre agents, making home office expenses easier to claim
Tax season 2021 has officially begun and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is working to accommodate those who need extra assistance when filing their taxes this year, especially after a pandemic-hit year.
“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,” says Diane Lebouthillier, minister of national revenue.
The T1 filing deadline for individuals is April 30 and June 15 for self-employed individuals.
Last month, the CRA started distributing T4A slips to those who received temporary emergency benefits from the government so they could file their taxes for 2020.
Late last year, the agency encouraged any individuals who mistakenly received multiple payments or payments that they did not apply for to repay the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments by the end of the year to avoid any 2021 tax issues.
In view of the past year, CRA is trying to accommodate those who need extra assistance by adding more call centre agents and extending call hours to give taxpayers more time to have their tax and benefits questions answered.
It is providing 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; and expanding payment arrangement parameters to provide Canadians more time and flexibility to repay a tax debt.
The agency is also making the deduction for home office expenses more accessible and easier to claim, and offering a liaison officer service to provide free personalized virtual visits by phone or videoconference to small business owners and self-employed individuals to help them understand their tax obligations.
Recently, the federal government introduced regulatory and legislative amendments for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) along with employment insurance (EI) regular benefits to extend the programs by weeks.