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Jackie DunhamCTVNews.ca Staff Writer

@JaclynLDunham  Contact

Published Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:02PM EDT

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada Revenue Agency will defer its filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals and certain trusts.

For individuals, that means the filing date has been pushed back to June 1. The original filing date was April 30.

For trusts with a taxation year ending on Dec. 31, 2019, the due date for filing returns has been moved back to May 1.

What’s more, the government will allow people to defer their income tax payments until after Aug. 31, 2020 with no interest or penalties.

“This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period,” according to the federal government.

In order to prevent taxpayers and tax-preparers from meeting in person during the pandemic, the CRA will recognize electronic signatures for authorization forms T183 or T183CORP, both of which are normally required to be signed by hand.

The government’s Outreach Program, which provides people with information on their tax obligations and available benefits and credits, will also be made available over the phone and through webinars.

For business owners, the CRA said they will also be allowed to defer their income tax payments until after Aug. 31 without any interest or penalties. The agency will also not contact any small- to medium-sized businesses for post-assessment GST/HST or income tax audits for the next four weeks.

“For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives,” a press release read. 

The tax deferrals are part of the federal government’s wider COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which includes $27 billion in direct assistance to Canadian workers and families, as well as making $55 billion available in liquidity to businesses to help stabilize the economy.

“No matter where you live or who you are, you will get the support you need during this time,” PM Trudeau told reporters gathered outside of his home in Ottawa on Wednesday.