Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Some Canadians facing CERB clawbacks may not have to pay it back: Trudeau

Fed benefit applicants making under $75K taxable income get till April 2022 for payments

Some Canadians who applied for the Canada Emergency Response based on their gross income, instead of their net, will not have to pay the money back.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday (Feb. 9) that those who otherwise qualified for CERB but assumed due to poor communication that the income limit was based on gross, not net income, will not have to pay back the payments if they otherwise qualify.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said that the CERB’s initial eligibility support was meant to be as broad as possible to help Canadians stay home.

“If you applied for CERB based on a gross income, instead of net income, you won’t have to repay the CERB,” she said. The CERB had a requirement that recipients make at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to applying for the CERB. While this was not made clear initially, the feds later clarified that this was meant to be net income, not gross.

“Owners who rely on business income should consider their net pre-tax income (gross income less expenses),” a questions and answers section federal government’s website now states.

For other Canadians who may be having trouble paying taxes this year, Trudeau said that people who received emergency benefits and made no more than $75,000 in taxable income won’t play interest until April 2022.

Trudeau faced questions about why the federal government was not just cancelling CERB clawbacks for all recipients.

“For many people who took the CERB because they needed it in the moment and then got back to work… the CERB will be taxed,” he said, adding that extremely low-income Canadians will not have to pay much in taxes regardless.

More to come.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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