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CRA provides update on changes it made for this year’s tax season

February 27, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff/Canada Revenue Agency

Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: daoleduc/Getty Images

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — tax season. We’ll remove our tongue from our cheeks, but the Canada Revenue Agency has provided an update on changes it made this year to help your employees get the most of its services, their benefits and credits.

Feel free to pass this handy list from the CRA on to your team.

New services

Charlie the chatbot – Need a quick answer to your question? Charlie is at your service. We’re trying new technology to help you get the information you need, when you need it. Charlie, the CRA chatbot, will be available in March and can answer general tax filing questions.


Since Charlie is still learning about the CRA, the questions you ask will help it become more knowledgeable and interactive. Charlie will make it easier to get the information you need to help you file your income tax and benefit return!

Check CRA processing times – Curious about how long we’ll take to handle your request? Use the Check CRA Processing Times tool on canada.ca to get a targeted completion date. The new tool uses published service standards and information you select from drop-down menus, to calculate targeted completion times for various programs.

Create a personal identification number (PIN) – You can now create a PIN when you call us on our Individual tax and benefit enquiries lines. A PIN is a fast and secure way to identify yourself when calling the CRA. You can set one up in My Account or with the help of one of our agents.

Pay any balance owed – We’ve made it easier than ever to pay your balance. Using the new “Proceed to Pay” buttons conveniently located in My Account, you can choose the payment method that works for you with the assurance that the amount will be automatically associated to the balance you want to pay.

Tax packages for paper filers – If you filed on paper last year, we’ll mail you an income tax and benefit package by February 17, 2020. The package will have everything needed to file a 2019 return.

Changes to the income tax and benefit return – We’ve made a couple of formatting changes. Line numbers that were three or four digits are now five digits (for example, line 150 on the return is now line 15000), and the former Schedule 1 is now part of the return.

Telephone wait times – Estimated wait times are now provided both on the phone and on the new contact information web page to help callers decide when is the best time to call.

Benefits and credits

Canada training credit limit – Eligible workers of at least 25 years old and less than 65 years old at the end of 2019 and later years, and who meet certain conditions will accumulate $250 a year, up to a lifetime limit of $5,000 to be used in calculating their Canada Training Credit, a new refundable tax credit available for 2020 and future years.

Based on the information on their return, the CRA will determine their Canada training credit limit for the 2020 tax year and provide it to them on their notice of assessment for 2019 and will be available in My Account.

For 2020 and future years, an individual may be able to claim a Canada Training Credit equal to their Canada Training Credit Limit for the year or 50% of their eligible tuition and fees paid to an educational Institution in Canada, whichever is less.

Canada workers benefit – The Canada workers benefit, formerly the working income tax benefit, is a refundable tax credit available to eligible individuals and families who work, but earn low income. As of February 2020, a simplified version of the advance payments application will be available in My Account.

Climate action incentive payment – The federal fuel charge will no longer apply in New Brunswick as of April 2020. This means that residents of New Brunswick will no longer receive climate action incentive payments.

Eligible individuals who are residents of Alberta may now claim the climate action incentive payment. The climate action incentive payment may still be claimed by eligible individuals who are residents of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario.

A 10% supplement is available to eligible individuals in these provinces who are residents of small or rural communities. The climate action incentive payment is first used to reduce any balance owing, and then it may create or increase a refund.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement – On January 1, 2019, Canadians began contributing more to the Canada Pension Plan. You can claim a deduction for your enhanced contributions to the CPP. Annual contribution rates will rise modestly over seven years. This change helps increase retirement income for working Canadians and their families.

Changes for individuals and families

Withdrawals have increased under the Home Buyers’ Plan – The maximum amount you can withdraw from your registered retirement savings plan under the Home Buyers’ Plan increased from $25,000 to $35,000 for withdrawals made after March 19, 2019.

Cannabis as a medical expense – Certain cannabis products bought for a patient for medical purposes are eligible for the medical expense tax credit.

The patient must:

  • be a holder of a medical document as defined in the Cannabis Regulations
  • be registered as a client of the holder of a licence for sale; and
  • make their purchases from the holder of a licence for sale they are registered with.

Tuition and enrolment certificate – The new T2202, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate replaces T2202A, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate for the 2019 and following tax years. Flying schools and clubs will now report information on the new T2202.

Kinship care providers – For 2009 and later years, for the Canada workers benefit and the former working income tax benefit, a care provider may be considered to be the parent of a child in their care, regardless of whether they receive financial assistance from a government under a kinship care program. As a result, the care provider may be entitled to claim the child as an eligible dependent for purposes of claiming the benefit.

Also, for these years, financial assistance payments received by care providers under a kinship care program are not included in income and not included when determining entitlement to benefits and credits based on income.

Communal organizations – For 2014 and later tax years, business income earned by the trust that is allocated to a member of the communal organization is deemed to be income from a business carried on by that member. This may allow members of a communal organization to claim the Canada workers benefit for 2019 and later years and the working income tax benefit for the 2014 to 2018 tax years.

Changes for businesses and self-employed individuals

Claim capital cost allowance on zero-emission vehicles – If you’re self-employed or claiming employment expenses, you may be able to claim an enhanced capital cost allowance on zero‑emission vehicles. Starting in 2019, there is a temporary enhanced first-year capital cost allowance of 100% for eligible zero‑emission vehicles.

To be eligible for this enhanced first-year capital cost allowance, one of the requirements is that the vehicle must be new (it must not have been used to acquired for use for any purpose by anyone else), and must have been acquired after March 18, 2019, and become available for use before 2024.

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