Quebec is giving taxpayers an extra month to file their 2020 provincial tax return, providing relief for Quebecers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government said Thursday.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has not indicated it will provide similar relief.
“[Thursday’s] announcement by Quebec will certainly put pressure on the feds to follow their lead,” said Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning with CIBC Private Wealth Management in Toronto.
That pressure surfaced Friday in the House of Commons. The Opposition Conservatives are asking the Liberals to give a waiver until the end of June given the circumstances the country finds itself in.
Speaking in question period, the revenue minister’s parliamentary secretary said the government understands that this tax season is a stressful one for Canadians.
Francesco Sorbara also said he encourages all Canadians to file their returns on time so that there isn’t any interruption to benefits.
Conservative critic Philip Lawrence didn’t appear impressed with the answer, saying at one point, “I’ll take that as a no.”
In a statement, Lawrence said the last thing Canadians want to deal with right now is the headache and financial stress of filing taxes.
“Let’s give Canadians some breathing room and much-needed compassion,” he said. “The simple fact is that Ottawa can wait.”
CPA Canada has been asking the Canada Revenue Agency for a similar reprieve over the last few days.
The Liberals extended the tax-filing deadline last year from April 30 to June 1 during the first wave of Covid-19, and put off payment of any balances owing until September to ease cash-flow concerns for households.
In Quebec, the federal and provincial tax returns must be filed separately. The filing relief applies to the Quebec return only. In every other province and territory, taxpayers file a combined return.
While the deadline for filing the 2020 Quebec income tax return remains April 30, taxpayers will not be charged late-filing penalties and no interest will accrue on unpaid balances of income tax from May 1 to 31, so long as the return is filed by May 31.
Penalties may apply for Quebec returns filed after May 31, the Quebec government indicated. Interest would be charged as of June 1 on any balance not paid by May 31, unless the taxpayer is eligible for a one-year waiver.
In February, the CRA announced that taxpayers who received Covid-19 income benefits would not be required to pay interest on any outstanding income tax debt for the 2020 tax year until April 30, 2022. To qualify, taxpayers must have had $75,000 or less of total taxable income in 2020 and have received some form of Covid-19 income support last year (such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit).