Tax Alerts

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February 16, 2021 - UPDATED March 31, 2021

Dear Valued Client/Tax Professional:

We hope this finds you well after a challenging year for all. The IRS opened their filing season as of February 12, 2021 and we will begin processing US returns near the end of February. Please note that the filing deadline has not changed from prior years – US taxes are due MAY 17, 2021.

For 2020, the IRS has made many changes primarily due to Covid-19 relief measures with the majority applicable to those living in the US, except for Stimulus checks. Please note this letter only relates to the U.S. tax returns and all amounts are in US dollars. Please refer to our separate letter regarding information for Canadian tax filings. Thank you to everyone for your patience this last year and wishing you a healthy year.

Please contact us if you would us to email you a PDF of this newsletter.

Dear Valued Client:

Our partners Caroline Paterson, CPA, CGA and Sheila Henn, CPA, CA would like to take this opportunity to provide information for this 2020 tax return season as we begin another challenging year. You will find more information on our website Our website is updated often with our hours, newsletters, services and more. Due to the many changes this past year, this information is based on the best of our knowledge to February 11, 2021. Currently, the filing deadline has not been extended. We recommend that you file your personal tax return by April 30th (or making an instalment by April 30, 2021 for individuals with self-employment income with a filing deadline of June 15, 2021).

Canadians are fortunate to have a publicly funded health care system, in which most major medical expenses are covered by provincial health care plans. Such plans are not, however, comprehensive, and there is consequently a large (and growing) number of medical and para-medical costs — including dental care, prescription drugs, physiotherapy, ambulance trips, and many others — which must be paid for on an out-of-pocket basis by the individual. In some cases, such costs are covered by private insurance, usually provided by an employer, but not everyone benefits from such coverage. Self-employed individuals, those working on contract, or those whose income comes from several part-time jobs do not usually have access to such private insurance coverage. Fortunately for those individuals, our tax system acts to help cushion the blow by providing a medical expense tax credit to help offset out-of-pocket medical and para-medical costs which must be incurred.

Working from home — and certainly work from home arrangements on the scale experienced over the past 19 months — would not be practically possible without the use of technology. And of all the available technology, cell phones and internet service are the two essentials without which work-from-home arrangements almost literally can’t function.

Throughout the pandemic, the federal government has provided businesses with a number of support programs, some of which operated to subsidize the wage and rental costs of those businesses. Some of those programs were scheduled to expire on November 20, 2021; however, in its most recent announcement made October 21, 2021, the federal government indicated that one program — the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) — would be extended, possibly until July 2, 2022. In addition, two new programs will be implemented to address the needs of businesses in sectors particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The affected programs are as follows.

Since the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) just over a year ago, more than 2 million individual Canadians have applied for the CRB, a benefit which paid $900 (pre-tax) per week until July 17 of this year, and $600 (pre-tax) per week thereafter. For the most recent benefit period for which figures are available (September 12-25, 2021), 821,560 Canadians received the CRB. In total, just over $27 billion in CRB amounts have been issued by the federal government since October 2020.

Two quarterly newsletters have been added—one dealing with personal issues, and one dealing with corporate issues.

The ongoing pandemic has, as one of its many effects, created a boom in the home renovation industry, as Canadians find themselves needing to adapt their homes to more and more varied uses.

In most cases, the need to seek out and obtain legal services (and to pay for them) is associated with life’s more unwelcome occurrences and experiences — a divorce, a dispute over a family estate, or a job loss. About the only thing that mitigates the pain of paying legal fees (apart, hopefully, from a successful resolution of the problem that created the need for legal advice) would be the ability to claim a tax credit or deduction for the fees paid.

Since March of 2020, tens of millions of Canadians have received pandemic benefits. In some cases, those benefits have been received directly by individuals — typically, through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and, later, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). In other cases, benefits have been provided to businesses, in some cases to assist them with rent payments or, in others, to subsidize employee wages.

Most Canadians know that the deadline for making contributions to one’s registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) comes 60 days after the end of the calendar year, around the end of February. There are, however, some circumstances in which an RRSP contribution must be (or should be) made by December 31, in order to achieve the desired tax result.

Chartered Professional Accountants