TurboTax wants to ensure accuracy with the information we have provided in this article, all content will be updated as we learn more from the Canada Revenue Agency and the Government of Canada.

What is the Canada Emergency Student Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provided taxable benefit support for students including high school graduates who were not able to work due to COVID-19. The benefit was discontinued on Sep 30th, 2020. The program paid $1,250 per 4-week period, from May to Sep 2020, to qualifying students that were been unable to obtain employment or had an income of $1,000 or less during the 4-week period.

Who was covered?

CESB benefited many Canadian students who:

  • Were current post-secondary students,
  • Had recently graduated from high school or a post-secondary, or
  • Did not qualify for CERB, CRB or EI (Employment Insurance) benefits

Who was an “eligible student” for this benefit?

An eligible student must have been:

  • Actively looking for work
  • A Canadian Citizen, Registered Indian, Permanent Resident, or a Protected Person,
  • Studying in Canada or abroad,
  • Enrolled in a post-secondary institution that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, or you completed studies in December 2019 or later, or had completed high school and would be starting a post-secondary program before February 2021

What was the benefit amount?

The program provided $1,250 per 4-week period for 16 weeks.  If you had a disability or a child under the age of 12 or other dependants, you could have qualified for an extra $750 per 4-week period.

Just like the CERB, CESB had specific eligibility periods for application, based on your eligibility (post-secondary or high school student). If you think you had received a payment during a period where you were not eligible, you need to return that payment.

You can return a CESB payment issued in error:

  • Through your CRA “My Account” service.
  • Through your Online banking: add “repay Canada Emergency Benefit” as a payee.
  • By mail: make a cheque payable to:

Revenue Processing – Repayment of CESB
Sudbury Tax Centre
1050 Notre Dame Avenue
Sudbury, ON, P3A 0C3

How does the CESB affect your taxes?

CESB is a taxable benefit that you are required to report as income in your income tax and benefit return. CRA did not withhold taxes on the payments, so you will be taxed on the full amount. You will receive a T4A slip for the amount you have received in Box 198. Report this amount on line 13000 of your tax return.

For more details on income support and other benefits as part of the Federal Government’s Economic Response Plan for COVID-19, click here.

See also our COVID-19: Tax Info Centre, from our TurboTax Support team, answering many FAQs on this topic and more.