A woman from P.E.I. got quite the shock after opening up a government-issued letter stating she owed over $18,000 in Canada Emergency Response Benefits.*

What's more, the government wants her to pay it all back before the end of the year if she wants to avoid penalties come tax season, according to CBC News

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$18,500

To be paid back to the Government of Canada

Christine MacDonald told CBC News that she really believed she was qualified for the CERB when she first applied back in March.

MacDonald, who runs a home bakery business that took a hit when COVID-19 hit, found herself with no income.

Because of this she reportedly applied for both the CERB and the Canada Recovery Benefit that came after.

In total, she received $18,500 from the government of Canada, which is she didn't think she would have to pay back, let alone by the end of this year.

"I'm in my bed at 11 o'clock at night reading this, and I'm starting to cry," MacDonald said in the report. "How can you pay them back $18,500 when you have no income?" 

Per the report, MacDonald applied using her gross income of 2019, meaning what she made before subtracting her business expenses like baking equipment and her electric bills. 

The CRA has said that to qualify for the income assistance small businesses have to make a yearly net income that exceeds $5,000 after taking out expenses.  

MacDonald apparently did not meet those requirements, leaving her now facing a tricky situation.


*Editor's Note: This article has been updated.

 
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