UPDATE: The Canada Revenue Agency has extended the tax deadline to June 1, 2020, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Our headline has been changed to reflect that. Read more about the extension here.
This article was written on March 12, 2020, and the information contained within reflects the facts at that time.
In a statement to HuffPost Canada, the CRA said officials continue to monitor the evolving situation closely and understand those who fall ill may be impacted financially.
“At this time, there are no plans to extend the tax filing season. The CRA understands that this is a difficult time for people and we are here to support them,” spokesperson Pamela Tourigny said Thursday.
“The existing taxpayer relief provisions give CRA officials the discretion to waive or cancel all or part of the interest and penalties.”
Canadians have until April 30 to file individual income tax returns. (Editor’s note: As of March 18, 2020, this information has changed. The deadline for individuals to file has been extended to June 1, 2020.)
Watch: Finance minister shares plans for COVID-19. Story continues below video.
Under taxpayer relief provisions, Canadians who are not able to file their tax returns on time and incur penalties are eligible to request to have them cancelled or waived. Deadlines are extended or penalties are cancelled or waived for people who’ve experienced “extraordinary circumstances.”
If the current outbreak continues to develop, Tourigny said, “The CRA is well positioned to respond to the emergence of COVID-19.”
The response from the CRA comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a series of new measures to cushion the impact of the novel coronavirus, including extending the upcoming April 15 tax filing deadline for some individuals.
“I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted,” he said. Trump did not offer clarity about who would be eligible and how long the extension would be.
Trump also announced that all flights from mainland Europe will be banned entry into the United States.
That measure has Canadian officials working to understand its potential impact at airports and ports of entry. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino had few answers, saying he won’t comment on the policies of other countries.
“Anybody who wishes to travel to Canada will be subject to the very rigorous procedures and protocols which are in place,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to her U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, about the travel ban’s potential impact for the Canada-U.S. land border, which sees 400,000 people cross every day.
“Secretary Pompeo and I agreed that we would be in constant touch when it comes to the Canada-U.S. border very much as needed,” Freeland said, adding that she made a point to reaffirm measures Canada’s public health care system is taking in the wake of the outbreak.
“There has been already an impact on the global economy and on the Canadian economy. But it is fair to anticipate that there will be further economic consequences,” Freeland said.
She emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic is a developing situation and the federal government is ready to respond with “economic firepower” if needed.
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