Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provided temporary income support to employed and self-employed Canadians who have lost their income due to COVID-19. This includes employed, self-employed, wage earners, and contract workers who weren’t getting paid because they:
- lost their job
- were self-isolating or quarantined
- were sick with COVID-19 or took care of a loved one with COVID-19 or
- needed to stay home to care for children who were at home because of school and day care closures
Note: The CERB was discontinued on September 26, 2020. For information on how this benefit might impact your 2020 return, visit the 2020 H&R Block Help Centre.
You might have received an emergency benefit, like CERB, but later found out you weren’t actually eligible for it. You’ll receive a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or Service Canada notifying you if you need to repay any CERB amounts you received.
If you repaid CERB amounts in 2021, you can claim all or some of the amount you repaid on your 2021 return. To learn more about repaying COVID-19 emergency benefits, visit this help article.
In February 2021, the government announced that self-employed individuals who mistakenly applied for the CERB based on their gross income (the amount you made before subtracting your work-related expenses) are no longer required to pay back their benefits.
This means you might not have to repay your CERB amounts if:
You earned at least $5,000 in 2019 before subtracting your expenses and
You meet the other eligibility requirements
If you already repaid your CERB amounts but you’re now considered eligible for the benefit, you can ask the CRA and Service Canada to give you back the amount you repaid by using the T180 (CERB reimbursement application for self-employed individuals) form. You can submit this form through your CRA My Account or by mail. Visit the CRA website for more information about the T180 form.
There’s no tax interest relief for 2021 returns. After April 30, 2022, the CRA and Revenu Québec will start charging interest on the unpaid amount of taxes you owe. Remember to file your return on time to also avoid late filing penalties.
If you were eligible for interest relief last year because you received COVID-19 emergency benefits, you’ll be charged interest on the unpaid amount of taxes you owe from your 2020 return after April 30, 2022.
- How COVID-19 relief measures might affect your taxes this year (H&R Block Online Help Centre)
- Repaying COVID-19 benefits (H&R Block Online Help Centre)
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) (Government of Canada website)
- Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (Government of Canada website)