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Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has published the prescribed annual interest rates, which will apply to any amounts owed to the agency and to any amounts owed by the agency to individuals and corporations. These rates will be in effect from Jan. 1, 2019, to Mar. 31, 2019.

The only change is in the interest rate for corporate taxpayers’ pertinent loans or indebtedness, which will increase to 5.67% from 5.45% last quarter.

The interest rate charged on overdue taxes, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions and employment insurance premiums remains the same as last quarter, at 6%.

Other interest rates also remain unchanged from last quarter. The interest rate to be paid on corporate taxpayer overpayments will be 2%; on non-corporate taxpayer overpayments, 4%. And the rate used to calculate taxable benefits for employees and shareholders from interest‑free and low-interest loans will be 2%.

The new year also brings tax changes at the federal level that will affect just about every Canadian, as well as small businesses.

One of the first changes workers will see is an increase in CPP premiums coming off their paycheques — the first of several hikes to be phased in until 2025, to pay for enhancements to the pension plan.

Employment Insurance premiums, on the other hand, will drop by four cents for every $100 of insurable earnings.

Meanwhile, the small-business tax rate is going down from 10% to 9%. But changes to how much passive income a small business can hold are also coming into effect, which is expected to push some businesses into paying a much higher corporate tax rate.

The federal government’s new carbon pricing system will come into effect in provinces that don’t have carbon pricing mechanisms of their own, resulting in higher costs for fossil fuels by April, and direct rebates to partly offset the increased costs.