Summer is here, the public health crisis seems to be slowing down, and we are seeing Canadians come together to protest systemic racism. While this is happening, the economy is slowly opening back up. You may have been one of the lucky Canadians to have been called back by your employer and that is great news! But what if you collect a pay cheque from your employer and also collect CERB? That’s an honest mistake. What now? Can you keep the CERB money? Or should you return it?  

What if you received a double-payment, but don’t have the cash flow to pay it back right away?   

What if you earned more on the side than you were allowed to based on CERB guidelines, but aren’t sure if you should return it?     

We got this. Let’s show you how-to return CERB over-payments 

 

Step #1: Know if you are still eligible for CERB 

 

If you applied for CERB originally and answered the eligibility questions truthfully, there should not be a worry. With CERB as with EI, you are required to report every 4 weeks. We strongly suggest visiting the CERB website for up to date information. Generally, you should be without work, and not be earning more than $1,000 in additional income per reporting period.  

 

Step #2: Determine whether you should return the CERB money or portions of it  

 

There are many scenarios where this can be a reality for Canadians. The most common of which are:  

  • You returned to work full time or part-time and collected a paycheque as well as collected CERB  
  • You received 2 payments instead of 1 (this happens when both EI/Service Canada and CRA received applications and paid out the money for the same reporting period) 
  • You earned more than $1,000 per reporting period 
  • Mistakenly applied but later realized you are not eligible

If you are still unclear on this, you can take a self-assessment questionnaire HERE 

Think this sounds like you? Not sure? Take some time to do some basic math as the CRA will not take kindly to over-collections of CERB – whether you made a mistake or not. Do the right thing: return the money. But how? Read on…  

 

Step #3: Where to go to pay it back 

 

There are two (2) options. Let’s run through them:  

1st option: Online

 

Pay it back through your My CRA Account. This is the easiest and most traceable option.  

You will need to sign-in to your CRA My Account. The CRA My Account is a secure portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your tax affairs online. You can get there by clicking HERE. 

If you need to register in order to access your account, you will first need to follow the steps to do so (same website). You will need the following information to do so:  

  • your Social Insurance Number  
  • your Postal Code 
  • your Date of Birth  
  • Tax information – amount entered on line 12600 (formerly 126 if 2018 or older) of your most recent tax return 

You can also access your account by Logging in or registering with the same sign-in information you use for other online services (for example, online banking). 

Once you are there, near the very top of your portal, there should be a button for COVID-19. Click on it. From there:  

 

1. Click on “Proceed to pay” button

 

2. Enter repayment Amount

 

3. Choose how you would like to make a payment

 

 

4. If you’ve chosen online payments, it will look like this:

 

 

5. Click the “Pay” button and then it will take you to an online payment portal

 

If you want to make a payment through your bank instead:  

 

  1. Login to your online bank 
  2. Go to “Payees” and look for an option called “CRA” or “CRA tax instalment) 
  3. Enter your 9-digit Social Insurance Number (SIN) as the CRA number  
  4. Enter the amount to be paid back 

Not sure how to add a payee through online banking? Watch these short YouTube tutorials:  

 

2nd option: snail mail 

 

This is an option that is convenient for many reasons. Let’s explore them:  

If you received a cheque by mail, simply return it! Best practice is to include:  

  1. The reason you are returning it ie “Repayment of CERB” 
  2. Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Temporary Tax Number (TTN) 
  3. Do yourself a favour: get it tracked and ask for a signature!  
  4. Address to return the CERB cheque: 

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

If you received a cheque by mail and cashed it, follow these steps to return the CERB money:  

  1. Make the payment out to “Receiver General for Canada” 
  2. Indicate it is for “Repayment of CERB” 
  3. Indicate which eligibility period you are repaying 
  4. Include your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or your Temporary Tax Number (TTN) 
  5. Address to return the CERB cheque:  

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

 

Step #4What if I just keep the money? Will they ever know?  

 

Yes, they will. The CERB is taxable income. The EI/Service Canada or CRA will send you a T4A with the information they have on file by December 31, 2020.  

Currently, there are no specific consequences on the over-collection of CERB. However, it is safe to assume that depending on circumstances, there may be a mix of penalties and interest associated with this.  

What if you are having cash-flow issues and enduring some personal financial hardships – and are not sure on how you could possibly repay the amounts before December 31 2020? Don’t despair, many are in your shoes right now. Please see our piece about cash flow management HERE

To learn more about how a bookkeeper can help you to manage your CERB scenarios, budget, savings, expenses, and cash flow, contact Blueprint Accounting.