BC: Reduces commercial property tax for businesses by average of 25%, help local governments

The province of British Columbia is providing additional support to businesses by reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%. In addition, the provincial government introduced new measures to support local governments facing revenue shortfalls.

“We know that B.C. communities and businesses are suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “That is why our B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan is focused on the health and safety of British Columbians, direct support for people and businesses and economic recovery for our province. We are providing further support by making additional temporary property tax changes to provide provincewide relief for business and local governments to help weather the pandemic, continue to deliver the services people count on and be part of our province’s economic recovery.”

– Minister of Finance, Carol James

From the BC government website:

“The Province is taking significant new steps to support B.C. businesses, non-profits and other organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic by:

  • further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.

  • Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct. 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty.

Responding to key concerns from local governments, the Province is addressing cash flow and revenue shortfalls with new measures that provide additional support:

  • authorizing local governments to borrow, interest-free, from their existing capital reserves to help pay for operating expenses, such as employee salaries.

  • delaying provincial school tax remittances until the end of the year. This will provide significant relief to local governments facing cash flow issues.

  • providing local governments greater flexibility to carry debt for an additional year.

  • These measures will provide local governments with the resources to meet their operational costs and required remittances to regional districts, regional hospital districts, TransLink and transit authorities, BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority and other taxing authorities. This will ensure that other minor taxing authorities can count on receiving the full amount they bill to municipalities and the Province’s surveyor of taxes before Aug. 1, 2020.”

New Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance | Canada Emergency Business Account Expanded

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

On April 16th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support for to help small businesses with their rent for the months of April, May and June.

The program is being worked out with the provinces and more details will be available shortly.

“Businesses and Commercial property owners are also facing specific challenges because of COVID-19 so we plan on introducing the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance. This program will provide support to help small businesses with their rent for the months of April, May and June. To implement this program we have to work with the provinces and territories as they govern rental relationships and we hope to have more details very soon” – PM Justin Trudeau

Canada Emergency Business Account

The eligible amounts are being expanded to include businesses with 2019 total payroll between $20,000 – $1.5 million.

There are restrictions on the funds can be used. From their website https://ceba-cuec.ca/:

“The funds from this loan shall only be used by the Borrower to pay non-deferrable operating expenses of the Borrower including, without limitation, payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax and regularly scheduled debt service, and may not be used to fund any payments or expenses such as prepayment/refinancing of existing indebtedness, payments of dividends, distributions and increases in management compensation.”

Getting the best from a financial advisor

Working with a professional to help you to make sense of your finances can be a wise move, but for this relationship to work effectively it is important that you understand what to expect from your financial advisor.

What can your financial advisor help you with?

  • Defining your financial goals and creating a step by step plan or strategy to achieve them.

  • Planning for the future, including for retirement, future education or housing needs.

  • Choosing the mix of investments and assets that suit your goals, lifestyle, time horizon and appetite for risk.

  • Building a solid estate for your family to inherit in the future.

  • Choosing the most tax-efficient methods of saving and investing.

What should your financial advisor inform you of?

  • The range of services that they offer and how much and by which method you will compensate them.

  • Your mutual responsibilities and obligations towards each other.

  • What the planning process will look like and the documents that they will provide you with.

What will your financial advisor need from you or need to ask you about?

  • What your financial goals are.

  • What your personal circumstances – such as your marital status, any dependents, your job, earnings and tax situation.

  • Any investments or assets that you currently have – such as registered accounts, workplace pensions, property etc.

  • Your appetite for risk and investment preferences.

  • Information on your income and also your outgoings, including debts such as mortgages, loans or credit cards.

  • Whether or not you have a will, and its contents.

  • Your estate and inheritance planning situation.

If you’re looking to achieve your financial goals, talk to us. We can help. 

Expanded eligibility for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) & Boosted wages for Essential Workers

From his speech on April 15th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced:

“Today, we’re announcing more help for more Canadians. This includes topping up the pay of essential workers. At the same time, we’ll also be expanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to reach people who are earning some income as well as seasonal workers who are facing no jobs and for those who have run out of EI recently. Expanding the CERB to include people who earn up to $1,000 per month. Maybe you’re a volunteer firefighter, or a contractor who can pickup some shifts, or you have a part-time job in a grocery store.”

Eligibility for CERB

On eligibility for CERB, the Prime Minister stated:

“If you earn $1,000 or less a month, you’ll now be able to apply for CERB.

If you were expecting a seasonal job that isn’t coming because of COVID-19, you’ll now be able to apply.

If you’ve run out of EI since January 1st, you can now apply for CERB as well

And for others who still need help, including post secondary students and businesses worried about commercial rent, we’ll have more to say to you very soon.”

Wage Boost for Essential Workers

On topping up wages for Essential Workers, PM Justin Trudeau said:

“Our government will work with the provinces and territories to boost wages for essential workers who are making under $2,500 a month, like those in our long-term care facilities”

The government website is being updated with the new qualifications, for full details and to apply click below:

Rules changed to allow more struggling business owners access to CERB, Wage Subsidy. Summer jobs program increased to 100%

Accepting Applications starting April 6th – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The sheer volume of applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will likely overwhelm the system. If you or someone you know need to apply for this benefit, we suggest you prepare TODAY before the applications begin:

  • Double check your myCRA account username and password

  • Direct Deposit is setup

    • 3 – 5 days via Direct Deposit vs 10 days via cheque in the mail

You should double check your myCRA username and password by signing in at:

If you do not have direct deposit setup with CRA, you can set it up TODAY at:

To help manage the volume, the CRA has setup specific days for you to apply based on month of birth.

If you were born in the month of:

  • January | February | March: Mondays – Best day to apply is April 6th

  • April | May | June: Tuesdays – Best day to apply is April 7th

  • July | August | September: Wednesdays – Best day to apply is April 8th

  • October | November | December: Thursdays – Best day to apply is April 9th

  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are open for any birth month

Eligibility

The benefit will be available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;

  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;

  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and

  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

Apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account at your bank TODAY!

The new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is available through major banking institutions: TD, Scotiabank, BMO, CIBC, RBC, National Bank, HSBC and Canadian Western Bank.

The CEBA will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced until December 31, 2022. Up to $10,000 of that amount will be eligible for loan forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022.

Eligibility

Organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019

How do I apply?

Prior to applying, please make sure you have this information readily available:

  • Canada Revenue Agency Business Number (BN 15 digits)

  • 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid (T4SUM)

Apply online at the financial institution your business banks with:

Do I Qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit & EI?

To help Canadians through this difficult time, the Federal Government created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and made changes to the Employment Insurance Program (EI). For those whose employment has been affected by the Coronavirus, we have created a chart to help you figure out which program you qualify for and provide links to apply for each program.

The Federal Government has already made numerous changes to these programs so we will be updating this document whenever a change to the program is made.

Stay home and stay safe.

Help for Small/Medium Businesses & Entrepreneurs – 75% wage subsidy, $40,000 interest-free loan & more

March 27, 2020 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced programs and measures focused on helping Small & Medium Sized Businesses and Entrepreneurs cope with the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With these new measures, our hope is that employers being pushed to laying off people due to COVID-19 will think again,” Trudeau said. “And for those of you who have already had to lay off workers, we hope you will re-hire them.”

Wage Subsidy increased to 75%

The Prime Minister has been under pressure from the small business community to boost the wage subsidy beyond the 10% initially announced to help keep people employed. Today, Mr. Trudeau announced the government will increase the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% to help keep employees on the payroll. This increase will be backdated to Sunday, March 15th.

“It is clear we have to do more, much more so we are bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses”

– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The CEBA will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans that will be interest-free for the 1st year which will be guaranteed by the government. If you meet certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan can be forgivable.

“To help you bridge to better times, we are launching the Canada Emergency Business Account. With this new measure banks will soon offer $40,000 which will be guaranteed by the government”

Defer GST, HST, Duty

The government will defer GST & HST payments, as well as duty and taxes owed on imports until June 2020.

“This is the equivalent of giving $30-billion of interest free loans to businesses”

Bank of Canada Rate Cut

Bank of Canada slashed its key overnight interest rate to 0.25%.

Full details and qualification requirements will be available on Monday.

Government of Canada Covid-19 Economic Response Plan

We know that clients have questions about the Federal government’s economic response plan, we have included a summary of the information below for business owners, employees and other support that’s available. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you.

Government of Canada Covid-19 Economic Response Plan

For Business Owners

  • Wage Subsidy: To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Eligible for those with payroll under $1M.

  • Work-Sharing Program to support your Employees

  • BDC Loan Expansion Facility– Details and contact information on tapping into the expanded credit. You must have been in business for at least two years; You must have more than $100,000 in annual gross revenues and should be profitable under normal operating conditions; Owners and/or business should have good credit history; The program enables business owners to apply for a Loan or Line of Credit with BDC for up to $100,000 to be repaid within five years. The interest rate is set today at 3.3%, which is very low for a business loan. The application is done on-line, and applicants would need to have various financial documents available to upload to complete the application. The processing time is about 2-3 weeks at present.

  • Purchase order financing available via BDC

  • Facebook announces $100M grant program for small businesses– Facebook announced yesterday that it’s creating a $100 million grant program for small businesses. Applications aren’t open yet, but the company says this will include both ad credits and cash grants that can be spent on operational costs like paying workers and paying rent. It will be available to up to 30,000 businesses in the 30-plus countries where Facebook operates. Facebook has also created a Business Hub with tips and resources for businesses trying to survive during the outbreak.

For Employees

Tax support:

  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1

  • Allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after August 31 (for amounts that are due after today and before September)

  • Temporarily boosting of the Canada Child Benefit payments

  • Banks deferring mortgage payments for up to 6 months- RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank & National Bank.

  • Emergency Care Benefit” which offers up to $900 biweekly (for up to 15 weeks) to provide income support to workers who have to stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave.

  • Six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.