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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 www.patersonhenn.com. 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).


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


There’s a lot that is still unknown about the upcoming 2021-22 academic year for post-secondary students. It may be that such students will be back on campus, living in residence and once again attending classes in lecture halls. Less optimistically, they may (again!) be learning online and living off campus, or still at home with their parents. Most likely, they will be experiencing some combination of the two.


As Canada begins to (slowly) transition back to a pre-pandemic way of life, one of the many opportunities which did not exist last summer is once again a possibility — that of sending the kids to summer camp. In most cases, Canadian children of school age have not had the opportunity to interact with their peers on a regular basis for nearly a year and a half. At the same time, parents across Canada have been coping with a situation in which they must work from home while simultaneously helping the kids with online learning. For both kids and parents, the possibility of going to summer camp must be particularly welcome this year.


Between February 8 and June 21 of this year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) received and processed just under 29 million individual income tax returns filed for the 2020 tax year. The sheer volume of returns and the processing turnaround timelines mean that the CRA does not (and cannot possibly) do a manual review of the information provided in a return prior to issuing the Notice of Assessment. Rather, all returns are scanned by the Agency’s computer system and a Notice of Assessment is then issued.


According to Statistics Canada there were, as of July 2020, just under 7 million Canadians over the age of 65. While the age at which an individual retires can vary a lot (from “Freedom 55” to those who are still working in their 70s), it’s reasonable to assume that a significant percentage of those 7 million Canadians is fully or partially retired. It’s also a reasonable assumption that retirement looks a lot different for them than it did for their parents.


Pandemic notwithstanding, the Canadian real estate market is booming, in terms of both house prices and sales activity. According to Canadian Real Estate Association statistics, the number of sales in March 2021 were at the highest level ever recorded — and the MLS Home Price Index rose by 23.1% in April 2021, as measured on a year-over-year basis.


By the beginning of June, most Canadians have filed their individual income tax return for the 2020 tax year and received a Notice of Assessment (NOA) outlining their tax position for that year. Those who receive a refund will celebrate that fact or, less happily, those who receive a tax bill will pay the tax amount owed. Both groups of taxpayers are then likely to forget about taxes until it’s tax filing time again in the spring of 2022. The fact is, however, that mid-year is very good time to assess one’s tax position for the current year and is particularly a good idea for taxpayers who have received a large refund or a bill for tax owing.


Over the past decade, the rules governing mortgage lending in Canada have been repeatedly amended, each time to impose more stringent requirements on would-be mortgage borrowers. The latest such change is to the “mortgage stress test”, which imposes income and creditworthiness requirements on would-be borrowers, with the goal of ensuring that they will be able to manage (and repay) their mortgage debt, now and in the future. The change is effective as of June 1, 2021.


By now, most Canadians have filed their income tax returns for the 2020 taxation year. Specifically, by May 17, 2021, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had processed just under 27 million individual income tax returns filed for 2020. Just over 16 million of those returns resulted in a refund to the taxpayer, while about 6.6 million taxpayers received a bill for additional taxes owed.


Chartered Professional Accountants