In an effort to get money out to those affected most by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government rolled out funding of the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) very quickly including the initial $2,000 payment that many people received. The money was paid out to those that applied at the time without verifying whether they were eligible and eligibility was to be verified at a later date.
The process of determining whether those that received the CERB payments back in 2020 were, in fact, eligible for those payments is now underway and many people have now received requests to repay those amounts that they originally received.
If you were not eligible to receive CERB and are now required to repay what you had originally received to the government, there are a few options available to you.
Repayment to CRA
If you received your CERB payment from CRA, you can make the repayment to CRA online, by mail, or in person. If you have set up MY Account with CRA you can log in and under COVID-19 Support use the Send Money Back button to pay by Interac debit, Visa, or Mastercard.
Alternatively, you can use CRA’s My Payment service (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/payment-save-time-pay-online.html) to repay using the Individual Income Tax (T1) option and allocate to the Canada emergency benefit repayment.
You can also use online banking using your SIN number and selecting the Canada emergency benefit repayment or CERB repayment as the payee.
A cheque or money order made out to Receiver General for Canada, indicating your SIN and which period the repayment applies to, can also be sent to:
Revenue Processing – Repayment of DEB
Sudbury Tax Centre
1050 Notre Dame Avenue
Sudbury ON P3A 0C3
Repayment to Service Canada
If you received the amount from Service Canada you can repay it through online banking using the payee Employment and Social Development Canada and your SIN umber as your Client ID (some intuitions require YY or 00 after your SIN).
You can also repay by mailing a cheque made out to Receiver General for Canada with your SIN and “repayment of CERB” in the memo line to:
PO Box 1122
Matane QC G4W 4S7
Deducting your Repayment
Because the CERB payments you received from the government were taxable income, they should have already been included as income on your personal tax returns. As a result, the repayments can now be deducted from income but you have a few choices are to how and when you deduct them.
Once the amount is repaid, you will receive a T4A slip for the repayment. You can use this slip to claim the deduction for the repayment to reduce taxable income in the year repayment was made, the year you originally received the benefit (most likely 2020), or you can split the deduction between the two tax years, as long as you do not deduct more than the total you repaid.
If repayment happens after December 31, 2022, the only option is to claim the repayment in the year the repayment is made.
Always be wary of any requests for money over the phone or through email, even if the individual states that they are from CRA. Emails will inform you that you have correspondence and ask you to log into your My Account to review messages from there. CRA will not ask for gift cards, Amazon cards, or wait on the line while you purchase these items. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be CRA and you are unsure, it is best to call CRA’s 1-800 line back directly to confirm.
If you have any doubts please contact our office and we can assist in verifying if you have a request for repayment.