From: Canada Revenue Agency
The Government is taking targeted action to support Canadians and Canadian businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to face uncertainty and economic challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of today, qualifying organizations can apply directly for the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This means qualifying organizations can apply for the subsidy without the need to claim the assistance through their landlords. Applicants can claim the subsidy retroactively for the period that began on September 27 and ended on October 24, 2020.
The CERS provides direct support of up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses to tenants and property owners for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. Eligible expenses include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less any subleasing revenues. Any sales tax (e.g., GST/HST) component of these costs would not be an eligible expense.
Qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order may be eligible for additional Lockdown Support of 25 per cent of eligible expenses.
In response to concerns raised by stakeholders about the program, the Government is proposing to amend the CERS in order to allow applicants to include eligible expenses in their CERS application before the expense has been paid. This means that organizations can include rent and other eligible amounts already paid in respect of a claim period as well as amounts that are payable for the claim period when submitting their CERS applications. Amounts that are not paid at the time of the application will have to be paid no later than 60 days after payment of the subsidy.
To be eligible, organizations must be individuals, taxable corporations and trusts, non-profit organizations or registered charities. Public institutions are generally not eligible for the subsidy. Eligible entities also include the following groups:
- Partnerships that are up to 50 per cent owned by non-eligible members;
- Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible entities;
- Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations;
- Registered Journalism Organizations; and
- Non-public colleges and schools, including institutions that offer specialized services, such as arts schools, driving schools, language schools or flight schools.
Applying for the CERS
Qualifying organizations can apply for the CERS through the CRA’s My Business Account or Represent a Client. Visit CRA login services to register.
As part of the application process, qualifying organizations are required to register in My Business Account or Represent a Client for a new Business Number Program Account Identifier, used specifically for the CERS program. This can be done online and takes just a few minutes. Organizations also need to provide specific information and attest that they meet the eligibility criteria for the program.
The CRA has launched CERS web pages, including an online calculator, to assist qualifying organizations in preparing their applications. Organizations are encouraged to use the CERS calculator, which guides applicants through a step-by-step calculation of the CERS and helps them determine the subsidy amount they can claim based on the information they enter into the calculator. Applicants who take advantage of the CERS calculator will be able to use the printable statement feature to enter required information into their application, enabling them to submit their claim quickly and easily.
The CRA will collect applications and optimize our automated verification process based on information gathered through the applications that are received. This will enable the CRA to process applications through our automated verification system on November 30 and begin issuing payments within 3-5 business days. As such, qualifying organizations can apply at a time that's convenient for them over the coming week.
Qualifying organizations are also encouraged to register for direct deposit as this is the fastest way to receive CERS subsidy payments. Organizations that are not registered for direct deposit should allow additional time for their cheque to be delivered by mail.
Additional information is available on the CERS How to apply web page.
CRA validation of CERS claims
The CRA recognizes that many businesses, non-profits and charities have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is making it a priority to deliver CERS payments as quickly as possible. To this end, the CRA has developed validation processes allowing many claims to be paid without manual intervention, and ensuring that interventions to verify information are handled quickly and with a minimal administrative burden.
To ensure that payments can be issued in as timely a manner as possible, the CRA will process claims through an automated verification system that compares claimant information with information already on file.
In situations where the CRA does not have claimant information on file, or where we do not have enough information on file to verify a claim, we may contact applicants to request additional information, such as lease agreements. In addition, we may need to contact third parties to validate information such as mortgage payments. We encourage organizations in this situation to provide any additional information we request without delay, as this will help to expedite the processing of the claim. A list of the types of documents we may request is available on the CERS web pages.
For more information
Please visit our CERS web pages and our CERS infographics (Take a look at the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy has got you covered, and We’re here to help) for more information about the subsidy and the application process.
Canadians who would like to obtain information by phone can call 1-800-959-5525. This line offers access to agents who can provide information about eligibility requirements, calculating the CERS, or how to apply. The line is operational on extended hours from November 16 to November 27, from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. local time. After November 27, it is expected to go back to regular hours, from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am until 6 p.m.
To learn more about how the CRA continues to support Canadians through the ongoing pandemic, go to CRA and COVID-19: Changes to taxes and benefits. To get the latest information please bookmark this page as we update it often, and be sure to follow us on our social media channels.