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Sorry, gig worker, the CRA wants its cut

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been on a bit of a public relations campaign lately, publishing statements virtually every week about what it requires of us this tax season.

It’s talked about what it intends to do with the GST/HST credit it owes you – in early April it clawed back, ahem, proactively applied tax refunds and benefits payments to any CRA related debt. It warned that it had resumed efforts to recover debts in this way (it had stopped because of COVID), in several statements this spring, including one on April 1.

Most recently it’s speaking to gig workers and the self-employed, but the CRA has also put out similar statements regarding those who earn income sharing something, selling something in peer-to-peer marketplaces and has issued similar guidance related to crypto transactions.

In short, they all say roughly the same thing: If you’ve made money, the CRA wants to know about it. (And yes, you need to pay taxes on that income.)

Quick facts:

  • The deadline for most Canadians to file their annual tax return is April 30. This falls on a Sunday. As such, the CRA has said your returns will be considered on time if they are filed on or before May 1.

  • The deadline for filing if you or your spouse is self-employed is June 15.

  • If you have a balance owing as a result of that June 15 filing, the CRA still requires you to pay that balance on or before May 1. (Aren’t they fun?)

  • The late filing penalty is five per cent of your 2022 balance owing, plus an additional one per cent for each full month you file after the due date.

  • The interest the CRA will charge you for any amounts owing is a whopping nine per cent this year. (Effective April 1.)

  • In Canada, generally a self-employed individual must register to collect and remit GST/HST if their worldwide revenue is more than $30,000.

“If you did not report your income from the gig economy, you may have to pay penalties and interest in addition to the tax on the unreported income. By correcting your tax affairs voluntarily, you may avoid or reduce penalties and interest,” they state. (Although in my experience, the CRA is polite, yes, but ruthless, humourless and inflexible.)

More on this inflexibility: If you are late, there will be penalties to pay. I was one day late last year at it cost. A lot.

With that in mind, I’ve got to go work on my taxes.

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