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CRA warns COVID-19 benefits could be delayed 2 months if tax deadline missed

Jessy Bains
·2-min read
A sign is pictured in front of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) national headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is urging Canadians who receive COVID-19 benefits to file their tax return by the deadline. (REUTERS)

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning anyone who gets COVID-19 benefits must file their 2020 taxes by the April 30th deadline, or face delays in getting their funds.

That includes the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

"The CRA uses information from both your 2019 and 2020 returns to confirm your eligibility to receive these benefits. Filing on time avoids having your recovery benefit payments paused while we validate your eligibility," said the CRA in a release.

"The CRA is committed to having validation and security measures in place, to ensure that we deliver benefit payments only to people who are entitled to receive them."

COVID-19 benefit applicants need to show they made at least $5,000 to qualify. If records don't show that, the CRA can ask for additional verification.

"Applicants are encouraged to file their 2019 and 2020 taxes by April 30, 2021 as this is the best way to ensure that the CRA can process their application within 3-5 business days," said the CRA.

"If the CRA needs additional information, it may take up to eight weeks for them to process the application from the time the requested documentation is received."

Filing early isn't prudent only for COVID-19 benefit recipients. The CRA also uses the return to avoid interruptions to payments for things like the Canada Child Benefit, the GST/HST credit, and any related provincial or territorial benefits. That includes filers who owe the government money.

Anyone filing on paper should consider filing well ahead of the deadline.

"If you file on paper, we encourage you to file before April 30, 2021, as, due to delays caused by COVID-19, the CRA may take 10 to 12 weeks to process paper returns," said the CRA.

If you or your spouse or common-law partner are self-employed, the deadline to file is June 15th.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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