March 2020


Ontario’s Action Plan to Respond to COVID-19 – Tax Aspects

Ontario’s Action Plan to Respond to COVID-19 – Tax Aspects

On March 25, 2020, the Ontario Government announced new tax relief measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temporary Increase to Employer Health Tax Exemption

Businesses with less than $5 million in “total Ontario remuneration” currently have an exemption from employer health tax for the first $490,000 of remuneration. Retroactive to January 1, 2020, the exemption will increase to $1 million. Taxpayers who have already paid instalments on the basis of the $490,000 exemption can expect their returns to be corrected.

New Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

The new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit will be a 10 per cent refundable tax credit available to Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPCs) who make qualifying capital expenditures in Ontario, but only if made outside Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area and various other regions near the Greater Toronto Area.

Qualifying expenditures are those between $50,000 and $500,000 on property classified, for the purposes of the capital cost allowance rules in the Income Tax Act, under Class 1 or Class 6 (including certain expenditures with respect to eligible commercial and industrial buildings). The credit is only available to the extent that the qualifying investment becomes “available for use” on or after March 25, 2020, as that term is used with respect to the capital cost allowance rules.

Deferral of Certain Taxes and WSIB Premiums

Businesses will also be able to defer certain filing and remittance obligations. These amounts remain owing, but businesses will not have to pay them until August 31.

With respect to WSIB, businesses can defer remitting premiums for the period starting March 25 and ending August 31, 2020, with no penalty or interest. Moreover, interest on outstanding premium payments will not accrue. All employers covered by the WSIB workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the relief.

As mentioned in our recent communication to you, beginning April 1 and up until August 31, 2020, businesses will not incur any penalty or interest if they miss filing or payment obligations for Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax, Fuel Tax, Gas Tax, Beer, Wine and Spirits Taxes, Mining Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, International Fuel Tax Agreement, Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts and Benefit Plans and Race Tracks Tax.

Postponed Property Tax Reassessments

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) normally values properties in Ontario every four years for determining property taxes. This will be postponed until 2021. As a result, property taxes in 2021 will be the same as the valuations in place for 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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Increase in wage subsidy, New loans for Small Businesses, GST/HST Payments and Other Matters

On March 27, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a number of new announcements as outlined below.

The Prime Minister unveiled that the government is going to be increasing the payroll subsidy in an effort to thwart layoffs due to COVID-19. This subsidy will now cover up to 75 percent of salaries, an increase over the original 10 percent subsidy plan.  The wage subsidy will be back-dated to Sunday March 15.  No further details were announced, but are expected on Monday.

The federal government is also introducing the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). The new measure will offer qualifying businesses:

  • $40,000 loan from banks, which will be guaranteed
  • The loan will be interest-free for the first year
  • Under certain conditions, $10,000 of it will be forgivable

The government will also be providing an additional $12.5 billion through Export Development Canada to help small and medium-sized businesses with operational cash flow.

For more details on these topics, please click on the provided link.

GST and HST payments, along with duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June 30, 2020.

For more details on this topic, please click on the provided link.

For employees who have already been laid off, Trudeau emphasized that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which was announced on Wednesday, is still applicable.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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Ontario Announces Interest and Penalty Relief for Businesses

On March 25, 2020, the Ontario government announced a five-month relief period for Ontario businesses who are unable to file or remit select provincial taxes on time, due to the special circumstances caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.

This relief period will help businesses around the province focus on supporting the well-being of their employees and their continued operations during this time of uncertainty.

Relief Period Overview

Tax filing and remittance deadlines will remain the same. However, beginning April 1, 2020, penalties and interest will not apply to Ontario businesses that miss any filing or remittance deadline under select provincial taxes. This will continue for a period of five months.

The following provincial taxes are included in the relief period:

Employer Health Tax
Tobacco Tax
Fuel Tax
Gas Tax
Beer, Wine & Spirits Tax
Mining Tax
Insurance Premium Tax
International Fuel Tax Agreement
Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts and Benefit Plans
Race Tracks Tax

Relief is Automatic

If a business is unable to file their return or remittance during the relief period, they do not need to contact or notify the Ministry of Finance. Penalties and interest will be waived automatically for all late returns or remittances by Ontario businesses during the relief period.

Ontario businesses are also not required to provide the Ministry of Finance with information about the impact of COVID-19 on their staff or daily operations during the relief period.

Filing Your Late Return or Remittance

Ontario businesses are required to file any late returns or remittances by the end of the relief period.
The Ministry will continue to review what challenges businesses are experiencing in light of COVID-19 and develop rules around returning to normal accordingly. Any transition plan will be communicated to all tax clients before the relief period ends.

What’s Not Included

The relief period does not include business accounts with outstanding taxes, interest or penalties owing to the government from previous filing periods. Existing debts from before the relief period will continue to accrue interest.

Audit Activity

The government is also temporarily suspending audit interactions with most Ontario business and representatives for the month of April 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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Temporary Wage Subsidy – Update

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers – Expanded Definition of ‘Eligible Employer’

As you may be aware, on March 25, 2020 the Federal Government passed the legislation required to implement measures recently announced. Contained in this legislation is an expanded definition of ‘Eligible Employer’ for the purposes of the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers that we informed you about last week. The definition of ‘Eligible Employer’ now includes individuals and partnerships whose members include individuals, Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC) or charities.

To claim the subsidy, the taxpayer must have an existing business number and payroll account with the CRA as of March 18, 2020 and pay salary, wages, bonuses or other remuneration to an employee. The subsidy is equal to 10% of remuneration paid between March 18, 2020 and June 20, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee to a maximum of $25,000 per employer. A CCPC with taxable capital employed in Canada for the preceding taxation year greater than $15M (calculated on an associated group basis) will not be eligible for the subsidy. Please also note that this $25,000 wage subsidy does not have to be shared between associated corporations.

The subsidy is claimed by the employer by reducing the current remittance of federal, provincial or territorial income tax that is sent to the CRA. The subsidy cannot reduce Canada Pension Plan contributions or Employment Insurance premiums. Employers can claim the subsidy on the first remittance period that includes remuneration paid after March 18, 2020.

The subsidy will be included in the employer’s income for the tax year in which it is claimed. In addition, any employer who claims the subsidy must keep the following information:

  • Total remuneration paid between March 18, 2020 and June 20, 2020;
  • Federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that was deducted from that remuneration; and
  • Number of employees paid in that period.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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Further to the Ontario Government’s March 23, 2020 announcement, it has been determined that Lipton is an “Essential Workplace”. As a result, our offices will remain “open” and we will continue with our present modified work arrangement.

Although most of our partners and staff are now working remotely, we are available as always, whether by email or phone.

As you can imagine, the receipt and distribution of mail and packages (including those containing corporate year ends and personal tax return materials) can be the most difficult to receive, sort and distribute to our team members. Please take this into account when sending these to us. If you can scan these materials and forward them to us via our secure portal, please do this as soon as possible.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that we accept invoice payments by way of Visa, Mastercard and most recently by e-Transfer. Please contact lbasian@liptonllp.com for details.

As always, we are here to assist you during these challenging times.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Lipton advisor.
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Wage Subsidies

As a follow-up to the Government of Canada’s recent announcement on the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, the CRA has now provided their answers to frequently asked questions.

In order to assist you, we are pleased to provide you with the following link containing the CRA’s answers to these questions:

We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.
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Let’s Get Digital

As you may be aware, the CRA has recently extended the personal tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020.

While this allows everyone more time to prepare and file their tax returns, we are urging everyone to send us their tax filing information as soon as possible, preferably in digital format.

So…. Let’s Get Digital!

Delivering your tax information to us digitally is a three-step process:

1.  Assembling your tax information
First, assemble all of the relevant information you need to send to your Lipton advisor.  The Lipton T1 Checklist is your best guide to determine the information required.

2.  Scanning your information
Many of the documents required may already be in digital form, but for those that are not, you will need to scan them.  Your mobile phone or iPad camera, along with a downloadable app can easily do the job of a traditional scanner.  There are many apps to choose from. Our preferred app (which happens to be free) is:

 Microsoft Office Lens

Install this app on your device and give it a try.  You will be an expert in no time!

3.  Uploading your tax Information
To upload your documents, please use our Secure File Portal.  Our portal is secure and easy to use.  Simply follow the onscreen prompts and you will be on your way!  Encountering an issue?  We are here to help!  Send an email with any questions to our Senior Manager of IT & Operations – Bryan Walderman and he will be happy to assist.

Once uploaded, our IT department will direct the information to your Lipton advisor and we will send you an email confirming that we have successfully received your files.

If for some reason you are unable to use our digital process, please feel free to drop your package off at our front desk with your Lipton advisor’s name clearly indicated.  We will still ensure that your returns are prepared before the June 1st filing deadline.

Please keep safe and healthy through these difficult times, and always be assured that the entire Lipton team is here to fully look after your needs.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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IRS moves filing due date to July 15th, 2020

On March 20, 2020, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the individual tax return filing deadline of April 15th, 2020 has been extended to July 15th, 2020 to coincide with the previously announced payment due date extension for amounts up to US $1,000,000 for individuals and small business filers and US $10,000,000 for corporations. Mnuchin said “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.” Taxpayers can still request a six-month extension to file returns, as in other years.

Taxpayers who anticipate receiving a refund may still wish to file as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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Notice to Clients re: COVID-19

As a valued client of Lipton LLP and in response to recent community health concerns, we want to advise you of changes to our personal tax return process as well as update you on our plans in case of a required office closure.

As of today, all tax return filing and payment deadlines remain in effect. With respect to your personal tax return, we are asking all clients to expedite the delivery of this information to us. In order to assist you, we are again providing you with a copy of our T1 Checklist. This is a comprehensive document and we ask that you review it carefully before providing us with your personal tax information.

We also recognize that face-to-face interaction with us may not be practical and given the current circumstances, we encourage you to send your information to us in digital format. Our secure File Portal is fully encrypted and uses leading technology to ensure your security.

Further to the above, we are asking that you:

  • Scan all slips and documents (or take a photo with your mobile phone)
  • Gather PDFs and compile donation and medical receipts into an Excel spreadsheet (if possible)
  • Complete the T1 Checklist


Upload these items to our File Portal. We will send you an email confirming receipt of your documents. If you receive additional T-slips afterwards, promptly upload these to us.

In the event that you have difficulty using the portal, you can contact our Senior Manager, IT & Operations, Bryan Walderman at bwalderman@liptonllp.com. His T1 processing team will be able to assist you over the phone. If it turns out that using the portal method is not possible, we encourage you to send or drop off your paper documents to us as soon as possible. Please ensure you indicate your Lipton advisor on the package.

Should circumstances require our office to close, we have plans in place that will enable us to provide you with uninterrupted service for all your business and personal requirements. This plan includes enhancements to our remote work capabilities as well as technology that ensures that all data is secure. By modifying our operations and working remotely, our partners and staff will continue to be responsive to your needs.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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COVID-19 – Tax Deadline Extensions and Further Relief Announced

In response to COVID-19, on March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced new financial and tax measures. Highlights are outlined below:

Extension of Filing Deadlines

Individuals, other than trusts, will have an extended filing deadline to June 1, 2020 for the 2019 returns.

Trusts with a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019 will have an extended filing deadline of May 1, 2020 to file their tax returns for the 2019 taxation year.

The government did not announce measures to extend other filing deadlines, including indirect tax returns, corporate tax returns and partnership information returns. However, this could change.

Business Measures

Tax payment relief

Businesses will be able to defer payment of any income tax amounts until September 1, 2020. This deferral applies to tax balances and installments that are owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020. These amounts will not be subject to interest or penalties during this period.

There is no deferral for any tax withholdings such as payroll , Part XIII withholdings or extensions for filing and remitting GST or HST.

Temporary wage subsidy for small businesses

Small employers may be eligible for a temporary wage subsidy to help prevent layoffs. This subsidy, which will be available for three months, will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit from this support now by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. This measure applies to corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. More details will follow as they become available.

Audit delays

The CRA says it will temporarily suspend all audit interaction with taxpayers and their representatives, for the vast majority of businesses. In particular, the CRA will not contact any small or medium businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or income tax audits for four weeks.

The CRA did not extend a taxpayer’s Notice of Objection deadline.

Individual measures

Tax filing and payment relief for individuals and trusts

As mentioned above, individuals, other than trusts, will have until June 1, 2020 to file their personal tax returns for the 2019 taxation year. Trusts with a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019 will now have until May 1, 2020 to file their tax returns for the 2019 taxation year.

In addition, all taxpayers who have income tax balances and income tax instalments that are owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020 will be able to defer payment of any income tax amounts until September 1, 2020. These amounts will not be subject to interest or penalties during this period.

Emergency Care Benefit

Workers who need to stay home because of COVID-19 but are not eligible for EI may qualify for a new Emergency Care Benefit. This new measure, which provides up to $900 every two weeks, for up to 15 weeks, will be available to individuals, including the self-employed, who fall ill with COVID-19, are placed in quarantine or take care of a family member who is ill. The benefit will also be provided to parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income. The CRA will administer the benefit and eligible individuals will be able to apply online or by phone for the benefit starting in April 2020. Applicants will not have to provide a medical certificate, but will have to re-attest that they meet the eligibility requirement every two weeks to reconfirm eligibility.

Emergency Support Benefit

The government announced a new Emergency Support Benefit to be provided through the CRA that will provide support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. Further details of this change are expected to be announced soon.

Other measures

The government announced additional measures to support individuals, including changes to:

  1. Offer more support for workers in the air transportation, tourism and oil and gas sectors, with details to be provided soon
  2. Reduce required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, with similar rules for individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan
  3. Increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year as part of their May payment
  4. Place a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
  5. Make a one-time special payment to eligible individuals through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) of almost $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples on average in May 2020
    Increase flexibility for homeowners to defer mortgage payments on certain insured mortgage loans through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  6. Provide support, through Canada’s large banks, including a deferral of up to six months for mortgages and possible relief on other credit products such as skip-a-payment on automobile loans or credit cards


Although the above-noted filing extensions have been put into place, we continue to encourage you to send us your personal tax information digitally through our secure FILE PORTAL as soon as possible. Our office also remains open to receive mail and in-person deliveries of your tax packages.

If you have any questions, please contact your Lipton advisor.

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