The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has started sending out tax slips to Canadians who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other pandemic-related handouts.

The benefits will have to be reported as taxable income.

Some pandemic benefits, such as CERB, were not taxed before Canadians received them, while others were. Many Canadians are left wondering if they will be forced to repay the money because of unclear requirements.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough admitted that the upcoming tax season will be particularly rough for the government and Canadians alike.

“It’s going to be difficult for people and it’s going to be complex or complicated for the system,” Qualtrough said.

“As people file their taxes, [we] are going to have to figure out… what they owe taxes on, what has already been taken taxes off for them. If you claimed both the CERB and CRB [Canada Recovery Benefit], we took taxes off the CRB but we didn’t for CERB — it’s incredibly complicated.” 

In late 2020, around 441,000 Canadians received letters from the CRA stating that they may not have been eligible for the benefits they received, and it is recommended that they pay back the CRA before the end of the year.

Anyone who received money through pandemic benefits will enter the total amount on line 13000 of their 2020 income tax return.

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