Canadians who haven’t filed by the end of September could lose pension benefits
By Erika Morris
The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) warns that Canadians who haven’t filed their 2019 taxes yet could see their benefits interrupted come the fall.
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the economic sector, the federal government postponed the deadline for filing income tax returns from April 30 to June 1 and pushed the deadline for paying outstanding balances to September 1. That deadline has now been extended to September 30, but as of late July, some two million returns have yet to be processed, and good portion of those who haven’t filed their taxes are seniors in Ontario and Quebec, according to the CRA.
Even those who have no income must file a tax return to get government benefits such as Old Age Security (OAS) pensions, Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), GST/HST credits, and Child Benefits (CCB). Those whose taxes haven’t been assessed by October 1 could see delays in payment or even be cut off.
On top of seeing benefits dry up, they could have to repay amounts received since July 2020 as they’d be considered ineligible. Municipal and provincial benefits requiring an assessed tax return could also be affected.
Seniors who get GIS continue to get their monthly amounts through the summer even if their 2019 income information hasn’t yet been assessed, but they should still submit their tax returns before October to avoid any interruptions.
In most cases, the CRA uses 2018 returns to calculate the difference between entitled benefits. Those who received too much will have to pay back the difference; those who get cut off will have payments resume once returns are filed.