Hello. First I hope you and your family are safe, healthy and protected during this coronavirus epidemic we are experiencing. My first ever on-camera video got so many great comments back, Brandon asked me if I would do an on-camera video for this charging HST in Ontario 2020 vlog. This is after his most recent HST in Ontario blog and I agreed. My name is Ira Smith and I am a bankruptcy trustee in Toronto.
I want to talk about the issue of businesses in Ontario and HST obligations and the new program the Government of Canada has rolled out as part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. So I know you are going to get value from this video. It is very short, hang on and I hope you can watch it until the end.
Now the Canada Revenue Agency came out and said that anyone filing HST in Ontario, or any other province, can defer payment on any obligation that arises between March and June 2020 until the end of June. So if you're a quarterly filer or a monthly filer, you do not have to pay until June 2020. CRA said that they would like you to file your HST in Ontario returns on time. If you file them electronically, they will be processed. If you file them by paper no one is going to do anything with them until the all-clear is sounded and the government is back working as normal.
If you file electronically, they will be processed automatically. But if human intervention is required, nothing will happen until everyone is back working normally.
So it is obvious that the government is doing this so that it can assist the business in preserving its cash flow so that it doesn't pay the HST when due. Rather, you can wait until the end of June and use that cash for more pressing matters.
Now that is a good thing but there are five issues that I have identified that you as an entrepreneur business owner should consider. I'm not telling you to defer the payment or not defer the payment but just consider these issues.
Your business cash flow - The first issue is will your cash position in your business be any better at the end of June than it is today? Right now, it looks like we are in this for the next few months. So at the end of June, most businesses’ cash position will probably not be any better and could actually be worse than today. The government takes this into consideration. Assuming the all-clear is sounded at the end of June, will the CRA still give you an extended grace period in order to catch up on your payments?
Will your business be ready for the “all clear”? - Secondly, if you are a quarterly or monthly filer, by the time you get to the end of June, you will have at least two periods where HST in Ontario might be payable. Right now the way CRA came out with their announcement, they would expect you to make both payments at that time. Again, will you have the cash to make one payment let alone double or more payments and what will their response be? Will they give you more time or not? Only time will tell.
How many HST in Ontario and other cash issues will you have? - The third issue is, once the all-clear is sounded, businesses are going to need to ramp up and they're going to need to bring back workers. They are also going to need to put money into marketing and advertising. Again, will you have the cash to make your HST payment then? Will the government understand if you don’t. Will they extend the grace period or not for giving more time for businesses to ramp up and start getting more cash in the door?
Directors - The HST in Ontario liability is always a director liability. Once the all-clear is sounded and companies are back operating, one or more periods of HST will be payable. Will, the government give an extended grace period or are they going to start hammering directors. Will they get right back to threatening directors if the company doesn't pay all the HST arrears immediately? I don't know.
Deemed trust claim - Finally, unremitted HST in Ontario is a deemed trust claim against all of the assets of the company or the unincorporated business. Once things get back to whatever the new normal is going to be, will CRA go back to its normal collection procedures? it could include garnishing bank accounts, accounts receivable and third party demand them in order to get their HST money. Are they going to just start doing that right away? The government is spending billions if not trillions of dollars trying to prop up the Canadian economy. You know they are going to need to collect money as fast as they can. Hopefully, they will be understanding.
So those are the five issues I have identified. Each business owner is going to have to decide what is best for them. Try to pay the HST when due when they file assuming they file on time or wait until the end of June and see if the government extends the deferral. Or, make all the payments then whenever the deferral ends.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. Stay safe, stay protected and stay healthy. If you have any questions at all or comments about this information or this video, please shoot me a message or give me a phone call.
These are the problems encountering business owners and their business concerning the HST in Ontario deferment. Should you make use of the deferment being offered by CRA? Only you can address that concern for yourself as well as your organization. I just wanted to highlight all of the concerns that you need to think about. It isn't a straightforward yes or no response.
The Bankruptcy Trustee in Toronto family hopes you and your family are remaining secure, healthy and balanced. We feel for every person that has been affected either with trouble or tragedy.
We are all part of our Greater Toronto Area and Canada and we have to all work together to aid in stopping the spread of this infection. Social distancing and self-quarantining are sacrifices that are not optional. Family members are separated from each other.
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