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Canadian Tax Change Highlights for 2020

Employees working at home due to COVID-19 may be able to claim a deduction, income tax measures to support journalism, and the refundable Canada Training Credit for tuition fees.

Charlie the CRA Chatbot
Last year CRA announced it was trying out new technology to answer general tax questions. If you visit their website you can see it at the bottom right of your browser window.

Taxation of COVID-19 Benefits Received
If you received any of the following in 2020, the amounts are taxable and should be reported to you on a tax slip (T4A, T4E or RL-1): Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). Businesses that received either the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) or Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) must include the amounts in income reported on their individual, corporation, or partnership returns.

Home Buyers' Plan
Have you experienced a breakdown in your marriage or common-law partnership? You may be able to participate in the Home Buyers' Plan, even if not considered a first-time home buyer. See What is the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)? and look for the link "How to participate in the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)."

Deduction for Employees Working at Home due to COVID-19
You may be able to claim certain employment expenses, if you worked from home more than 50% of the time for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19. You can claim expenses using a Simplified Method ($2/day up to a maximum of $400) without certification from your employer or the need to keep detailed records, or you can claim actual expenses using a Detailed Method, which has stricter requirements. The rather complicated set of rules can be found either in CRA's publication T4044 Employment Expenses, or in a handy online resource they created called Home Office Expenses for Employees.

Increases to Non-refundable Tax Credits
The basic Personal Amount, Spouse or Common-law Partner Amount, and Amount for an Eligible Dependant have all been increased for most taxpayers.

Digital News Subscription Expenses
You may be able to claim a new non-refundable tax credit for digital news subscriptions with qualified Canadian journalism organizations. At this time, we can't find a list of qualified organizations.

Donations to Journalism Organizations
You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit for donations made to registered journalism organizations. We did find a list of organizations on CRA's website, which at this time shows only one registered: La Presse Inc. in Montreal.

Canada Training Credit
This new refundable tax credit began accumulating in 2019 and can now be claimed on 2020 returns. If you paid eligible tuition fees in 2020, you may be able to claim $250 for them on Line 45350 of your return. The Canada Training Credit claim reduces the allowable non-refundable tax credit for tuition fees on Line 32300.

Mineral Exploration Tax Credit Extended
This investment tax credit for flow-through share investors has been extended for an additional 5 years to March 31, 2024.


The information on this website, and the use of this website, are both provided without warranty of any kind. Income tax rules change every year and some information may be out of date. All readers wishing to take advantage of the information offered here should consult a qualified income tax preparer. In no event will Brad Howland, Howland Tax Services, or this website be liable for any damages, including lost profits, arising out of the information offered on this website, or the usage of this website. All material on this website Copyright © 2001-2021 by Howland Tax Services, Inc. Please contact us for permission to use this material in any form. Website designed and maintained by Brad Howland.