No Penalties Will Be Incurred to Unwitting Applicants as CRA Retrieves Double-Paid CERB

No Penalties Will Be Incurred to Unwitting Applicants as CRA Retrieves Double-Paid CERB
The landing web page for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Aug. 10, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giordano Ciampini)
Andrew Chen

The Canada Revenue Agency said it is asking applicants who received double payments of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to return the money.

When applying for CERB, which has now been replaced with other COVID-19 support benefits, Canadians could choose to apply through either the CRA My Account or My Service Canada Account, but not both simultaneously.

“Some individuals may have mistakenly applied through both the CRA and Service Canada, and may have received duplicate CERB payments. Individuals in this situation will be contacted, if they have not already been contacted,” CRA told the Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

This inadvertent double-dipping could have happened for employment insurance applicants. EI claimants were automatically transferred to CERB if they became eligible later than March 15, which could have led some to apply for relief benefits at both the CRA and Service Canada.

“The vast majority of Canadians are honest and they voluntarily pay back amounts claimed in error,” CRA said. “For other cases, the CRA has effective systems in place to identify and validate high risk claims before issuing CERB payments.”

The CERB program ended on Oct. 3 for applicants who have already received 28 weeks of benefits. The last pay period for CERB was from Aug. 30 to Sept. 26., but Canadians can still apply retroactively for all CERB pay periods until Dec. 2, 2020.

CERB has since been replaced by other COVID-19 support benefits, including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

CRA said it will also review other COVID-19 related benefits at a later time to verify that claimants were eligible for the payments.

“The CRA has records of those who received the CERB and for what period. These will be used, along with tax slips received from employers and other relevant information available to the CRA, to validate eligibility next tax filing season.”

“If you repay the CERB, the CRA won’t issue a T4A for that payment. To ensure that we don’t issue slips improperly, you need to repay your CERB before December 31, 2020.”

The CRA noted that it has introduced a service on the My Account portal to make repayments easy. As of Oct. 28, more than 900,000 payments have been made through this service.

More directions on how to return the CERB payments are given on the CRA website.