News & Insights

Tax Alert | Provincial COVID-19 Economic Response Plans

Tax Development Mar 25, 2020

Following the Government of Canada’s announcement of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan on March 18, 2020, several provinces and territories have announced tax relief measures in relation to the pandemic.  Below you will find Ryan’s analysis of significant initiatives recently announced by British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories. 

British Columbia

On March 23, 2020, British Columbia announced its COVID-19 Action Plan.  Under this plan, the province revealed the following tax changes:

  • Tax filing and payment deadlines for employer health tax, provincial sales tax (including municipal and regional district tax), carbon tax, motor fuel tax, and tobacco tax will be extended to September 30, 2020;
  • The elimination of the PST exemption for sweetened carbonated beverages and the implementation of expanded registration requirements for both Canadian and foreign sellers, as announced in the 2020 British Columbia budget, will be delayed;
  • The carbon tax rate increase planned for April 1, 2020, which was intended to keep the rates in line with federal carbon pricing requirements, will be suspended until further notice; and
  • Commercial property school tax rates for the 2020 tax year will be cut by 50%.

Additional information about the British Columbia COVID-19 Action Plan may be found at the following link:
COVID-19 Action Plan - Provincial Tax Changes

Manitoba

The province announced on March 22, 2020 that the filing deadlines for retail sales tax (PST) and the Health and Post Secondary Education Tax Levy (HE Levy) will be extended for small and medium-sized businesses with monthly remittances not exceeding $10,000.  Specifically, the April and May filing deadlines have been extended to June 22, 2020 for PST remittances and June 15, 2020 for HE Levy purposes.

In addition, any business that qualifies for relief under one of these initiatives and was not able to file its February 2020 PST or HE Levy return by the required filing date will have the late filing penalty set aside and interest will not apply to any outstanding balance until the extended due date.  However, interest will continue to apply to all outstanding tax debts that became due prior to the March remittance due dates.

Further details on the Manitoba tax payment deadline extension can be found at:
Manitoba Information Notice RST 20-03, “Manitoba Government Extends Tax Deadlines”; and 
Manitoba Information Notice HE 20-01, “Government Extends Tax Deadlines”

Alberta

Alberta announced several initiatives to provide funding relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19.  Key measures introduced by the province include:

  • Postponing corporate income tax installment payments and balances due from March 19 until August 31, 2020;
  • Delaying the 3.4% increase to education property tax rates proposed in the 2020 provincial budget;
  • Deferral of collection of non-residential education property tax amounts for 6 months, with commercial landlords urged to pass these savings on to tenants;
  • Allowing Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) premium payments for small, medium, and large private sector employers to be deferred until 2021, with any employers that have already remitted 2020 premiums becoming eligible for a rebate; and
  • Requiring small and medium-sized business to only pay half of the 2020 premium otherwise due.

Further details on these announcements can be found at:
Alberta COVID-19 support for employers and employees

Northwest Territories

On March 20, 2020, Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance announced the first phase of measures that will help minimize the financial impact of COVID-19 on the Northwest Territories, including a temporary stop to the collection of amounts owed (e.g., payroll tax) to the territory.

The Minister’s statement provides additional details:
Northwest Territories COVID-19 Economic Relief

More Information

Ryan continues to monitor official announcements daily.  Please visit our COVID-19 Tax Information Hub for the latest developments on filing and payment extensions, tax relief initiatives, and other government responses to the pandemic.

If you have any questions about how these changes might impact your organization, please do not hesitate to contact the Ryan TaxDirect® line at info@ryanco.ca or 1.800.667.1600.