Reporting Government Assistance on Your 2020 Tax Return

Walter Harder

This week the government released the T4A form for 2020.  This is the first indication of how the various government assistance programs for 2020 will be reported on the tax return.

The new slip includes the following boxes related to government assistance:

  • Box 197, Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • Box 198, Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
  • Box 199, Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for eligible students with disabilities or those with children or other dependents
  • Box 200, Provincial/Territorial COVID-19 financial assistance payments
  • Box 202, Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
  • Box 203, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
  • Box 204, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

All of these boxes will be reported on line 13000 of the 2020 tax return as Other Income.

Some of the consequences of reporting this income on line 130 (other than the taxes payable) include:

  • This income will increase Net Income and therefore may reduce the amount of provincial tax credits, the GST Credit and the Canada Child Benefit.
  • This income does not increase RRSP contribution room, although an RRSP contribution could be used to reduce net and taxable income in the individual has unused RRSP contribution room from prior years (or earned some in 2019).

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