In the May 29 IB, the Government of Québec announced that it plans to amend tax legislation to grant discretionary power to the Minister of Revenue to extend the deadlines for businesses to apply for tax incentives.
In the June 29 IB, it was announced that temporary discretionary power will be granted to departments and agencies (e.g. SODEC for the purposes of the Quebec film or television production credit, or Investissement Quebec for, among other things, the eligibility of a corporation’s e-business activities) responsible for administering the non-tax aspects of tax incentives. Those agencies may deem businesses or persons eligible for those tax incentives to the extent they have demonstrated that their inability to meet the eligibility criteria is directly attributable to measures put in place to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Similarly, the Taxation Act will be amended to grant the Minister of Revenue discretionary power to include any non-eligible salary or wages, or non-eligible activities, in the calculation of eligible salary or wages, or eligible activities, in similar determinations regarding eligibility for tax incentives. And similarly, the impossibility of satisfying the eligibility criteria must be directly attributable to the measures put in place to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. The amendments will apply to taxation or fiscal years ending after March 14, 2020.
Saskatchewan Tax Measures
On March 20, 2020, Premier Scott Moe announced the following tax measures:
Measures for businesses
- As described in Information Bulletin IN 2020-03, businesses directly impacted by COVID-19 that are unable to file their PST returns and remit by the due date because of cash flow concerns will be relieved from any interest or penalties that would otherwise apply to such late filings, for the following periods:
- Monthly filers may defer payment of amounts due for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods to July 31, 2020.
- Quarterly filers may defer payment of amounts due for the January 1, 2020, to March 31, 2020, reporting period to July 31, 2020.
- Despite this relief, the Government of Saskatchewan encourages taxpayers to file their tax returns each month/quarter (with or without payment) if they are able to do so.
- Contrary to previous announcements, businesses will not be required to submit a request for relief from penalty and interest charges for these returns. However, full payment or a payment arrangement must be in place by July 31, 2020, in order to qualify for the automatic deferral and waiver of penalty and interest. Such payment arrangements may be made by submitting electronically through the Saskatchewan eTax Service (“SETS”) located at saskatchewan.ca, or by email ([email protected]) or at the following address: Ministry of Finance (Revenue Division), PO Box 200, Regina, SK, S4P 2Z6.
- In addition, at the time of publication, relief is not provided in relation to other type of taxes.
- The Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program provides a one-time payment for tourism businesses in the major event facilities sector and the event, attractions or tourist business sector, up to a maximum of $50,000. Eligible businesses must have experienced at least a 30 percent decline in revenue from 2019. Eligible businesses must maintain a permanent establishment in Saskatchewan and have been eligible to carry on business in Saskatchewan on February 29, 2020. Applications will be accepted starting August 24, 2020.
- A one-time grant for small businesses of less than 500 employees equal to 15% of monthly sales revenue in either April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. Eligible businesses must have been carrying on business in Saskatchewan on February 29, 2020, and had to close or significantly reduce their operations due to a COVID-19 public health order. Business must attest that they experienced a loss in revenue due to the public health order; they plan to reopen upon cancellation of the order; and they have not received payments from other sources other than amounts from other government assistance programs. Applications close on July 31, 2020.
- Audit program and compliance activities have been suspended so businesses can prioritize the health and safety of customers and staff, conserve resources and reduce audit travel.
- The Saskatchewan Worker’s Compensation Board has waived penalties for late payment of premiums from until July 31, 2020, and forgave interest and penalties for late payments applied in the month of March 2020. If no additional extensions occur, interest will be applied effective Aug. 8, 2020. There are options available where requested for employers to set up regular payment plans as a mechanism to avoid interest.
- A single window information webpage will be established for businesses to access information and receive timely updates on provincial support initiatives. A Business Response Team, led by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development, will work with businesses to identify program supports relevant to particular businesses.
- On December 7, 2020, legislation was introduced to reduce the tax rate for small businesses. Effective October 1, 2020, the small business corporate income tax rate drops to 0%. Beginning July 1, 2022, the small business tax rate will move to 1%. And on July 1, 2023, the small business tax rate will return to 2%.
Measures for individuals
- The Self-Isolation Support Program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900 to Saskatchewan residents forced to self-isolate, who are not covered by the federal plan or other supports. Eligibility criteria are:
- they have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms;
- they have been in contact with an infected individual;
- they have recently returned from international travel and must self-isolate;