Friday News Roundup July 17, 2020: CRA time limits, RSM touts key investments, CEWS, PSAB and more
Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news
TORONTO, July 17, 2020 – Perhaps the biggest business and economic story of the week was the announced extension of the border closure between Canada and the U.S. to non-essential travel until August 21. While the announcement was made official yesterday (Thursday), Prime Minister Trudeau indicated the closure extension on Monday. Here are some of the other stories of interest to Canadian accountants from the past week:
Time Limits Act raises red flags among tax accountants, lawyers
Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures, has passed first reading. The bill includes various amendments to the Income Tax Act as well as the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19), which extend certain time limits relating to CRA tax assessments and Tax Court proceedings. As reported by Canadian Accountant, the Act raised red flags among tax accountants and lawyers that the CRA would be getting unnecessary extensions, but the Act would grant taxpayers more time to appeal from certain types of decisions made by CRA.
Canadian economy recovering, RSM recommends investments
As Canada slowly begins to re-open its provinces and provide a clearer fiscal outlook, a new report released on Monday from audit, tax and consulting firm RSM Canada shows that Canada’s economic recovery is looking better than many predicted a few months ago, but big questions still remain around how to rescue several industries from their worst state since the Great Depression.
RSM notes that, after a big drop in April, Canada’s economy is slowly on the upswing, and is performing better than predicted after a drop of 11.6% in April. RSM Canada recommends three key investment areas to boost productivity: 1, digital infrastructure, including investment in broadband projects for more rural areas of Canada; 2, investment in goods movement; and 3, investment to reduce congestion in urban centres.
Liberals extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Also on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended to December 2020. The program covers 75 per cent of wages, up to a weekly maximum of $847, for workers at eligible companies and non-profits affected by the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The December extension is the second extension of the CEWS.
Interestingly, CEWS has not been as popular as the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), which is scheduled to close in the fall. The government is looking into rejigging the program to remove disincentives to growth. The December Extension will require legislative amendment.
PSAB names interim head to replace St-Jean
Now that Charles-Antoine St-Jean, FCPA, FCA, will be taking over as CPA Canada’s new president and CEO, effective July 20, 2020, the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) has named the current vice-chair, Clyde MacLellan, FCPA, FCA, to serve as PSAB’s interim chair. MacLellan is a recently retired Assistant Auditor General of Canada.
Colin Ellis is a contributing editor to Canadian Accountant.