Tax Alerts
March 06, 2021

Sometime during the month of February, millions of Canadians will receive mail from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). That mail, a “Tax Instalment Reminder”, will set out the amount of instalment payments of income tax to be paid by the recipient taxpayer by March 15 and June 15 of this year.

One of the biggest pandemic-related changes in the day-to-day lives of Canadians was the abrupt change to work-from-home arrangements. While such arrangements aren’t new — employees and the self-employed have been working from home for decades, ever since the available technology made such arrangements feasible — what changed in 2020 was the sheer number of Canadians who were working from home for the first time.

Under Canadian tax law, the general rule is that all amounts paid by an employer to his or her employees are treated as taxable income. That rule holds whether those amounts are paid as cash remuneration, or in the form of non-cash benefits. However, in some circumstances, that general rule is altered to permit employees to receive certain non-cash benefits on a tax-free, or tax-advantaged, basis.

For most taxpayers, the first few months of the year are a seemingly unending series of bills and payment deadlines. During January and February, many Canadians are still trying to pay off the bills from holiday spending. The first income tax instalment payment of 2021 is due on March 15 and the need to pay any tax balance for the 2020 tax year comes just 6 weeks after that, on April 30. Added to all of that, the deadline for making an RRSP contribution for 2020 falls on March 1, 2021.

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