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CRA tips for small business ahead of the tax season

Over the COVID months, small businesses have faced numerous economic challenges and the CRA is reaching out ahead of tax season to help businesses navigate the filing details.

Mark Mayer has been with the CRA for 30 years and is a manger in  the Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch dealing with business registration and authorizing third parties. He encourages businesses to look at setting up an online account.

“We have this great portal called MyBusiness account that contains a lot that they should consult and sign up for just as a basic requirement of operating their business, even if they do have a third party doing their taxes. Every now and then they should look at what their account is. They can sign up for what we call electronic alerts, so if there has been a change to their account that they are unaware of, such as a change of address, trade name or phone number; that sort of thing.”

Mayer says the CRA encourages businesses to stay involved. He says it’s never a good idea to turn over the administration of your business to a third person, even though they understand this allows business owners to focus on the primary economic actions.

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Mayer currently works on a team that tackles suspicious activity. He says they have made several upgrades to the CRA website and they are ready to help taxpayers.

He says businesses may have applied for the Canada Emergency Benefit Account or CEBA as well as other Federal assistance supports during the COVID months and that needs to be factored in.

“The subsidies and even the portion of the CEBA loan that is forgivable if they applied for one; that’s taxable income. On the CRA website we have a series of frequently asked questions about the COVID benefit programs and they should consult those as well.”

Mayer says they will be getting a T4 slip since it is taxable income, whether they received it as a sole proprietor or a corporation.

According to the T2 Corporation Income Tax Guide 2020, you may also have received a government loan. The loan itself is not taxable; however, any part of the loan that is forgivable is taxable in the year in which the loan is received.

Information for agriculture producers who have applied for supports in the wake of the drought on the prairies through the AgriStability and AgriInvest programs is also available.

The CRA has also posted information for each emergency recovery benefit, including details on home office benefits for employees.

CRA officials recommend the following information links for business registration, and general taxation.

Business owners can consult with free liaison services and book a tax webinar online to deal with their specific needs. Additionally they may call Business Inquiries at 1-800-959-5525.

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