Self-employed CERB recipients prepare to pay income tax for the first time

Self-employed CERB recipients prepare to pay income tax for the first time

Atlantic Canada — Accountants are reminding self-employed clients that they will have to pay income tax on CERB payments claimed in 2020. While CRA officials say the rules were clear from the start, others are crying foul.

“They’d better not touch my refund money!” said freelance software engineer Marisa Chase. “After maximizing contributions to my RRSP, TFSA, RESP and claiming home office expenses, I get a fat refund cheque that zeroes out virtually every cent of income tax I pay during the year. I need that money to feed my growing family…of rare betta fish!”

Small business owners claim that the CRA changed the rules when they specified that it was an applicant’s net income being considered, not their gross income prior to expenses.

“I’ve never paid income tax in the past 10 years, and I’m not about to start now,” said owner of Harris Yard Maintenance, Mark Harris. “I’m an entrepreneur, not an accountant! I don’t understand all these fancy financial terms like gross and net income. However, I do know that if I pay myself less than $13,229 a year after expenses and take everything else under the table, that I don’t pay any personal income tax. Every small business owner knows that.

“Why should I pay my fair share of taxes anyway?” he went on. “What have taxes ever done for me other than provide free health care, education, roads, defence spending and emergency services?! It’s just another reason to hate Trudeau. Always screwing over the middle class.”

Some Canadians were shocked to learn they may have to pay back thousands of dollars in benefits after receiving letters from the Canada Revenue Agency suggesting they may not have qualified for the emergency response benefit in the first place.

“If I’ve learned anything from my bachelor’s degree in finance, or Rihanna, ‘bitch better have my money,'” said author, financial columnist and rap enthusiast Alison Griffiths. “When CERB was announced, I signed up my whole family. My husband Jeff, my cat Fred, my dog Lucious, my daughter Cashe, and my son-in-law Jackson. It’s all about improving your odds, and thought it would be pretty unlikely that we’d all get caught.

“In 2020, nothing was more important to me than spending time and money with my family. Blood is thicker than water, and so is my wallet. Come at me CRA. Come at me.”

The CRA has since clarified that the letters were only warnings, and promises that they will be flexible when negotiating terms of repayment.

“We understand that most Canadians were honest, and only used the CERB money to cover their basic needs during the pandemic,” said CRA auditor Micheal Woods. “We’ll also be very understanding when it comes time for you choose which meal to skip, limb to keep, or kidney to donate. Season’s greetings from the CRA!”

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