Life has become increasingly complicated. As we navigate rotating shutdowns, on-again/off-again restrictions and dramatic changes to our daily routines, the possibility of missing important dates and deadlines is very real, as one day can often roll into the next without much distinction.
With so many changes and unknowns on the horizon, keeping track of specific dates will help you stay productive and organized. Following are some important dates to mark in your calendar.
Each year, typically during the first quarter, the federal government provides an account of its economic agenda including initiatives, investments and proposed tax measures through the delivery of its annual budget.
In 2020, the government produced a series of economic updates and stimulus plans throughout the year in lieu of a formal budget in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, all eyes will be on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as she delivers Budget 2021 on April 19. While arriving a little later than expected, the focus this year, not surprisingly, is anticipated to be the country’s road to recovery, including efforts to support Canadians and stabilize the economy.
Interest rate announcements
Every six weeks, on eight pre-scheduled dates, the Bank of Canada announces its target overnight rate. Occasionally, under extraordinary circumstances, unscheduled announcements are required such as those made in 2020, which included a series of rate reductions to help stimulate consumer confidence and offset the damaging effects of the global pandemic.
Now entering the second quarter of 2021, six interest rate announcements remain for the year:
April 21, June 9, July 14, September 8, October 27 and December 8. The first two announcements were handed down on January 20 and March 10, and didn’t reveal any fluctuations. With the prospect of a continuous bumpy road ahead, the Bank of Canada is expected to maintain interest rates at or near 0.25% for the remainder of the year and beyond.
Tax filing prep
As part of its efforts to ease the burden of COVID-19 impacts, the federal government, through the Canada Revenue Agency, granted an extension for filing and paying taxes in 2020. This year, dates are back on schedule. These are important deadlines in order to avoid paying interest and penalties:
If you make installments throughout the year to avoid paying one large bill at tax time, your four required payments are due on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15.
New this year: If you’ve taken advantage of relief programs under the federal government’s COVID-19 economic response plan, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), you may want to speak with your tax professional or visit the Government of Canada website to ensure you understand how they affect your filing. Most government benefits will be fully taxed, while some may have been partially taxed at the source.
Also, if you were required to work from home more than 50% of the time for at least four consecutive weeks in 2020, you can benefit from deductions related to home office expenses. You can choose to use either the simplified, flat-rate method of $2/day for a maximum of $400 or a more detailed method, which allows you to claim the actual amounts you paid. To learn more, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Be sure to also claim your regular deductions and credits, including your RRSP contributions.