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Ontario, feds offer some financial relief to businesses hit with new COVID restrictions

Ontario, feds offer some financial relief to businesses hit with new COVID restrictions

To Help Ontario  business affected by the latest COVID restrictions, the Ontario Government is allowing  business to delay paying a wide variety of taxes. The Ontario government is introducing Business Costs Rebate Program and a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. These include:

Employer Health Tax

Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes

Tobacco Tax

Insurance Premium Tax

Fuel Tax

International Fuel Tax Agreement

Gas Tax

Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans

Mining Tax

Race Tracks Tax

Said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “We recognize that these necessary capacity limits to reduce the transmission of the virus will impact businesses, and that’s why we are introducing these new supports, which will put money directly into the hands of business and free up their cash flows during this critical time.”

Through the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, eligible businesses will receive rebate payments equivalent to 50 per cent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to the current capacity limits. This will provide support to businesses that are expected to be most impacted financially by the requirement to reduce capacity to 50 per cent. Examples of businesses that will be eligible for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program include restaurants, smaller retail stores and gyms. A full list of eligible business types will be made available through a program guide in mid-January 2022.

Online applications for this program will open in mid-January 2022, with payments to eligible businesses provided retroactive to December 19, 2021. Businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.

This measure will provide up to $7.5 billion in relief to help approximately 80,000 Ontario businesses.

Meanwhile the federal government has temporarily expanded the eligibility of several support programs to apply to those impacted by new public health restrictions.

Instead of applying solely to those in “complete” lockdowns of more than 14 days, the local lockdown program will include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. The government is also reducing the current monthly revenue decline threshold from 40 per cent to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies between 25 per cent to 75 per cent.

With the adjustments, the worker lockdown benefit will apply to workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. The benefit provides $300 a week to those eligible. The changes are effective from Dec. 19 to Feb. 12, 2022.

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