2023 was another year where Canadians felt the influence of post-pandemic effects such as inflation. The government has continued to offer support to those affected by COVID-19, such as the grocery rebate issued in 2023, as part of the GST/HST credit. This was a non taxable, one-time payment intended to help with the cost of food and necessities.  

With so many tax changes over the past year, it can be difficult to understand how they’ll impact your tax return. That’s why TurboTax is here to keep things simple and provide you with all the info you need related to COVID-19 and how it affects your filing this season.

Key Takeaways
  1. All COVID-19 benefits are taxable and need to be reported when filing your taxes this season.
  2. Your benefits are handed out with tax already withheld, but the CRA still needs their details to calculate your return properly.
  3. There are several additional credits and deductions that apply due to COVID-19 circumstances, so make sure to claim as many as possible for the best tax outcome.

How are COVID-19 benefits taxed, and at what rate?

COVID-19 benefits have had tax withheld at the source. In other words, they’re already adjusted to cover the taxable portion of what’s given to you, at the rate of 10%. 

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to report these benefits while filing. Depending on your remaining income and other factors, you might still be on the hook for taxes. To make sure your return is properly assessed, you do need to report these benefits while filing. 

Do I need to repay my COVID-19 benefits?

You might need to repay your COVID-19 benefits back to the government if:

  • you applied for the CRCB and later found out you do not meet the eligibility criteria.
  • you received a payment in error.
  • you received a payment for the same period as another member in your household.

You will need to reimburse $0.50 of the CRB for every dollar of net income you earned over $38,000 on your income tax return. You won’t have to reimburse more than you received. If your CRB was deemed ineligible, you will have to repay 100% of the amount you received. Any repayments owed will be included as part of your total balance owing for your 2023 taxes.

Form T1B, Request to Deduct Federal COVID-19 Benefits Repayment in a Prior Year was made  available in January 2023. The new form will make it easier for you to claim a repayment made in 2022 as a deduction in 2022 or a previous tax year. You can file this form with your 2022 tax return to claim the deduction.

If you repay a benefit amount after December 21, 2022, you will only be able to claim a deduction in the year you make the repayment.  

Which tax forms do you need to report income from COVID-19 benefits?

If you received any amounts from the following COVID-19 benefits, you’ll get a T4A slip outlining your benefit details for 2022 and prior only.

These following programs are now closed as of 2023:

You’ll also get a T4E slip if you received CERB benefits from Service Canada or Employment Insurance (EI) benefit payments at any point during the year.

You might have already received some of these forms in the mail or online, so make sure to keep these forms handy when preparing your tax return.

What if I still didn’t receive all my slips? 

If you still haven’t received all your tax forms or slips yet, don’t panic. Your first step should be to use your CRA My Account to access your tax information and forms (including T4 and T4A) online. If you’re looking for your T4E form, you can also access it online through your My Service Canada Account. 

If your employer or any other party responsible for providing forms hasn’t provided the forms yet, follow up with them ASAP to make sure they haven’t forgotten about it, and confirm what delivery method they’re using to get them to you.

Are there any additional COVID-19 tax credits and deductions I can claim?

As the pandemic came to a close, for the most part, so did the related benefit programs. Ei has taken over as the first line of support for those who find themselves out of work, but in general covid benefits and related expenses have been phased out. 

In 2022 and prior: The Work from home tax credit

This tax credit allowed Canadians working from home due to the pandemic to deduct some of their remote work expenses. You can claim up to $500 for the 2022 tax year if you use the flat rate method of $2 for each day you worked from home.

Other employment expenses

As an employee you may be able to claim certain employment expenses as determined by your employer who will need to provide you with the form needed to claim the deduction on your tax return. See the T777 Statement of Employment Expenses as well as the Guide T4044, Employment Expenses, for more details.

Digital News Subscription Tax Credit

If you paid for a digital news subscription to a qualified Canadian journalism organization, you can claim up to $500 for it on your taxes (for qualifying subscription expenses after 2019 and before 2025.)

Canada Training Credit

If you paid eligible tuition and fees for courses taken in 2023, you can claim the Canada Training Credit, which offers up to $250 each year, up to a lifetime maximum of $5,000. If you’ve opted to retrain for a different line of work due to COVID-19 or for any other reason, this is a great benefit to claim.

Is there a due date extension for filing taxes this year?

The personal tax return filing deadline for your 2023 tax return is April 30, 2024.

For self-employed returns, there’s a little more leeway with a deadline of June 15th each year, but if you owe taxes, the CRA starts assessing interest on May 1, so it’s a good idea to file earlier.

How can I be prepared for my taxes this year?

At TurboTax, we offer free tools and resources to help you make it through tax season smoothly:

  • Get organized with our free tax checklist, which tells you everything you need to file your 2023 return on time and accurately.
  • Estimate your tax refund or taxes owing quickly with the Canada income tax calculator.
  • Check out the tax calendar, which provides a full breakdown of the tax filing timeline for 2023.
  • Join our community to connect with experts and other users who share your experiences and ask any questions you may have while filing your taxes.

Your taxes are done right, any way you choose.

File on your own, with live help, or hand your taxes off to an expert.