With CERB repayments just around the corner for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has explained exactly how to repay the money.
Earlier this year, millions of people in Canada applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, otherwise known as the CERB.
The benefit provided eligible applicants with $2,000 per month, for up to four months.
However, the CRA has since revealed that up to 213,000 Canadians may have claimed the money incorrectly.
These people are now being asked to return the payments, ideally before the end of 2020.
If you claimed #CERB but were ineligible, you’ll need to repay those amounts by December 31st. Find out how:… https://t.co/Nw3htu1z9M— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency) 1606320609.0
Who needs to repay the CERB?
Back in October, the CRA revealed that a significant number of Canadians may have accidentally applied for the CERB incorrectly.
By claiming the benefit via both the CRA and Service Canada, hundreds of thousands of people received double payments.
In fact, over 200,000 claimants may have received too much money.
These people will be required to repay the extra amount, according to the government agency.
In addition, there are some people who may have initially believed that they were eligible for the benefit, but later found out that they didn’t qualify.
For example, a number of self-employed people reportedly misunderstood the original application. They will also be asked to return their payments.
We’ve reached out to some Canadians to confirm CERB eligibility. If it turns out you weren’t eligible and you need… https://t.co/JBxqbXZenE— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency) 1607295604.0
How do you pay it back?
In a Twitter thread shared on Sunday, December 6, the federal agency explained exactly how Canadians can return CERB payments.
“We’ve reached out to some Canadians to confirm CERB eligibility,” reads their explanation.
They’ve reached out to any applicants who may not qualify for the money via mail and those who agree that money should be returned can do it via the agency’s website.
Anybody returning a payment simply needs to confirm whether their money came from the CRA or Service Canada.
Applicants can then return cheques via post, or send back direct deposits via the government's “My Account” system.
Payments can even be returned through online banking, simply by adding the Canada Revenue Agency as a payee.
Need to repay #CERB? Make sure you do so before December 31st to avoid impacts to your T4. Here’s how:… https://t.co/HjYtymLRRu— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency) 1606763709.0
When does it need to be returned?
Fortunately for anybody caught off-guard by the CRA’s letter, the agency won’t be chasing repayments any time soon.
A spokesperson told CBC News last month that they have suspended debt collection until the pandemic is over.
"We will resume collections activities when it is responsible to do so, including collection of debts related to CERB payments," reads their statement.
However, the agency is still urging anybody who can repay to do so before 2021.
“We encourage you to pay by December 31st, so there are no impacts on your 2020 income tax return,” is their advice.
As the CERB is taxable, the sum will otherwise appear on the claimant’s tax slips in April and will need to be reported as income.
If you're still a little bit confused, there's even a contact number to get help directly from the agency.