COVID-19 Support For Small Businesses

If you are a small business owner, chances are that it is not business as usual for you and your team. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to take a close look at their operation. If your business has been deemed an essential service by your province, you had to look at how you continue to operate while maintaining a safe environment for your staff and customers. If your business was not on the list of essential businesses but was still able to operate at a distance, telework and video meetings has become your new norm. For those businesses in industries that were required to temporarily close without a way to continue to work at a distance, you are probably waiting anxiously to hear about how and when your province will reopen and trying to plan for what your new norm will look like.

Both the Provincial and Federal governments have developed programs to help small business owners through this unprecedented time. Not all businesses will be approved for all programs, but if you have experienced a significant reduction in revenues, you may qualify for support for your business with the below programs.


Eligible employers will receive a three-month temporary 10% wage subsidy. This will be in the form of a reduction in the total amount of payroll deductions you are required forward to the CRA. Eligible businesses must possess a business number and a payroll account with the CRA as of March 18, 2020 and must have been paying salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions to qualifying personnel.

Key Details:
Dates: March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020
Subsidy: 10% of the remunerations paid during the eligible period
Allowances: Maximum of $1,375 for each eligible employee. Maximum subsidy of $25,000 per employer
Application Process: No application is required; however, each employer is responsible for calculating their own permissible subsidy. The amount of the subsidy is subtracted from the payroll remittance that you send to the CRA monthly.


The CEWS was created for Canadians to retain their current employment by providing employers that were facing serious reductions in gross revenues. The program is set to run for 12 weeks and the subsidy will cover up to 75% of employee’s wages during this time. Qualifying employers will also be eligible to receive a 100% refund for specific employer contributions to CPP, EI, QPP, and QPI for employees that are on leave with pay.

Key Details:
Dates: March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020
Subsidy: 75% of an employee’s wages during the eligible period. Gross revenues must have dropped by a minimum 15% in March and 30% in April and May.
Allowances: Maximum of $847 per employee per week. If you are eligible for the Temporary 10% wage subsidy, the amount of your benefit from that program will be subtracted from the amount you are eligible under CEWS for the same period.
Application Process: The quickest way to apply is by using the CRA My Business Account. Take advantage of the calculator tool to determine your subsidy amount to simplify the application process. We also suggest setting up direct deposit with your payroll account to get access to the subsidy quicker.


This interest-free loan is intended to assist small businesses and not-for-profits cover their daily operating expenses during the time of reduced revenues. To qualify for the up to $40,000 loan, you must have paid between $20,000 and $1,500,000 in payroll for 2019.

Key Details:
Dates: Application process is now open, if the balance of the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, 25% of your loan will be forgiven.
Allowances: Up to $40,000 loan
Application Process: Applications are submitted through the banking institution associated with your main business account.


The CECRA has not been implemented yet, but the federal and provincial governments are collaborating to provide commercial rent relief to those businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will provide landlords with qualifying commercial properties forgivable loans that will cover 50% of the rent for a 3 month period, if the landlord agrees to reduce the rent by 25% during this period, effectively leaving the eligible small business owner to cover 25% of their rent for April, May, and June.

Key Details:
Dates: Expected to be operational by mid- May and apply to April, May, and June rent.
Allowances: To qualify, a tenant you must be paying less than $50,000 in rent per month, and have experienced a minimum 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues.
Application Process: Full details are not available yet, but it will be the landlord’s responsibility to apply for the CECRA in support of their tenants.

The above highlighted programs are just a few of the available programs developed by the Federal and Provincial governments to support small businesses. For a full list of available programs visit Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Whether you qualify for any of the above programs or not, we suggest you consult with your accountant and financial advisor to better understand your expenses, available cash and to build a financial plan that will assist you as you navigate this challenging time.

Get Ready Get Set for Tax Time

Get Ready, Get Set for Tax Time

Many people feel overwhelmed at tax time. If your clients do their own taxes and are confused or don’t know where to start, here’s a quick primer to help them file their personal tax return. Hand it out at your next meeting, or fire it off in an email — it’s a great way to remind your clients you’re here to support their financial well-being.

Tax Time Crib Notes

    • The deadline for filing a tax return is just around the corner: June 1 for personal and June 15 for the self-employed.
    • Submit your return on time. If you owe taxes, you’ll pay a late-filing penalty of 5% of the tax owing plus 1% for each month you’re overdue, up to 12 months. You’ll also pay interest on the amount owing, plus on the late-filing penalty, starting May 1. Interest is compounded annually. If you miss more than one year, you’ll pay even more.
    • T4 and T5 slips are supposed to be mailed by February 28. Collect all your slips before you start and keep everything in one place. (This will also prepare you in case the Canada Revenue Agency asks you to provide any slips or receipts.) Follow up with financial institutions and other issuers if you believe something is missing.
    • If you’re married or living common-law, consult with each other before you file. If you’re working, for example, make sure that the one with the higher income claims certain credits — and make sure you don’t both claim the same thing. If you’re retired and there’s a large difference in income, you could jointly elect to split pension income.
    • Check last year’s Notice of Assessment for important information such as RRSP contribution limits and repayments to the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) or Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP).
    • Gather charitable receipts. You’ll receive a federal tax credit of 15% on the first $200 of donations, and 29% of the remainder. (There’s also a smaller provincial credit.) Consider pooling receipts with a spouse (letting the higher income-earner claim), or carry forward up to five years, if that gets you a higher tax credit. If you’re a first-time donor you may be able to get an additional 25% on the first $1,000 of donations.
    • Collect all medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner and minor children. You’ll get a tax credit for amounts over 3% of your net income or $2,397, whichever is less. You can make the claim for any 12-month period that ends in the 2019 tax year. (If you’re also claiming for a dependent, you need to use the same 12-month period.) Check which expenses you can claim before you submit.
    • Claim RRSP contributions. Deposits made in January or February of this year can be claimed now or carried forward to next year. Check last year’s Notice of Assessment to confirm how much you can claim without penalty.
    • Be sure to claim all that you are eligible for if you are a full-time student or graduate of a recognized post-secondary institution, if you paid union dues or certain professional membership fee, if you bought a home last year if you care for an elderly parent or a family member with a disability.
    • Check your return, tax-filing software or the CRA website for complete lists of what is claimable and what is not.
    • If using tax filing software, be sure to check overall fields before filing, including auto-filled fields, to ensure all information is correct and up to date.

    If you have any questions or your tax situation is more complex than most, don’t hesitate to reach out. At Awealth, we have a team of tax experts to help with complex situations.