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There are new rules this tax season, courtesy of COVID-19. Here's what you need to know – CBC.ca

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Heads up, Canadians: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is going to be a tax season like no other.

If you collected COVID-19-related benefit payments last year, you might end up owing more money than in previous years. However, if you spent part of 2020 working from home, you could wind up with a bigger tax refund than usual.

Here’s what you need to know about filing your taxes this season, including important deadlines.

Has the deadline been extended?

Despite this being a more complex tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has not extended the tax filing deadline. The due date is still April 30 for most Canadians, and June 15 for self-employed people. 

To avoid interest charges, Canadians need to pay any taxes owed by April 30. However, not everyone has to comply with that rule this year.

Those who had a total taxable income of $75,000 or less and received one or more of the COVID-19 benefits listed below don’t have to pay their taxes until April 30, 2022. 

Eligible benefits:

  • Canada emergency response benefit (CERB).

  • Canada emergency student benefit (CESB). 

  • Canada recovery benefit (CRB).

  • Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB).

  • Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB).

  • Employment Insurance benefits.

  • Similar provincial emergency benefits.

Qualifying Canadians “will have that full year after the filing deadline of April 30th [2021]” to pay any tax debt without facing interest charges, said Francesco Sorbara, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.

Those who qualify for the payment deferral still need to file on time if they owe taxes — or they’ll face a late-filing penalty.

Will I owe taxes on my government benefits?

The benefits listed above are considered taxable income, so the federal government introduced the tax-payment deferral to help out the many Canadians who will have to pay taxes on their benefit payments. 

“[Many] lost jobs and collected benefits, and they may have some amounts owing,” said Sorbara. “We’re giving some flexibility there.” 

WATCH | CRA prepares for a complicated tax season:

From job losses to recovery benefits, this tax season is expected to be complicated and the Canada Revenue Agency is hiring 2,000 people to help field questions. 1:53

The government didn’t withhold any taxes on CERB and CESB benefit payments Canadians received in 2020.

It did withhold a 10 per cent tax for people who received CRB, CRCB and CRSB benefits, but tax expert Jamie Golombek said many of those individuals will still owe the government money, as most Canadians’ income is taxed at a much higher rate than 10 per cent.

“For many people, [10 per cent is] not going to be enough, particularly for those who had other sources of income throughout the year,” said Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC.

“You may actually find out for the first time ever in your life that you actually owe some taxes.”

Working from home? Claim your cash

Due to the pandemic, many Canadians worked from home for part of 2020, which means they may be eligible for a home office expenses tax deduction.

To qualify, you must have worked from home more than 50 per cent of the time for at least four consecutive weeks last year.

There are two options for Canadians claiming home office expenses. The first is the detailed method, which involves calculating what percentage of your household costs — such as hydro, rent and internet — can be applied to your home office space. Also, you’re required to save all relevant receipts. 

If that sounds like too much work, don’t fret. To simplify the process for people who worked from home for the first time in 2020, the CRA has introduced a new, temporary flat rate method. It allows employees to claim a tax deduction of $2 for each day they worked from home, up to a maximum of $400.

“We’ve kept it simple. They can file it without filing any documentation, any forms,” said Sorbara.

Software designer Pat Suwalski is seen working from his desk at home in Nepean, Ont. (Pat Suwalski)

Software developer Pat Suwalski of Nepean, Ont., has been mainly working from home since April 2020. He filed his taxes on Wednesday using the flat rate method and said it took him just minutes to calculate his deduction.

“I’m a pretty honest guy, so I took a calendar and I started counting [work] days,” he said.

Suwalski counted 188 work-from-home days last year. Multiply that by $2 a day and he gets a tax deduction of $376.

“I’ll take it,” he said. “It’s great that they made [the process] simpler.”

Which method should you choose if you worked from home this year? Golombek said the flat rate method may be the best option if you’re a homeowner, because it’s easier and chances are you’ll come out ahead.

That’s because mortgage payments — typically a homeowner’s biggest monthly bill — can’t be claimed as a home office expense.

“Our experience is that homeowners, typically speaking, don’t have enough expenses … to beat the $2-a-day method,” Golombek said.

While homeowners can’t claim their mortgage payments, renters can claim a portion of their rent based on the size of their home office space compared to their entire home. As a result, Golombek says they may reap bigger rewards by choosing the detailed method.

“Depending on [what] percentage of their home they’re using, [renters] typically would probably come out ahead on the detailed method.”

Digital tax credit

Golombek also points out one of the new wrinkles this tax season, which is that the government is offering a tax credit to people who subscribed to digital news services in 2020.

Canadians can claim up to $500 for subscriptions to qualifying Canadian media, such as newspapers, magazines, websites and podcasts, that don’t have a broadcast licence and offer primarily original news content.

“I call it a bit of a fun new credit,” Golombek said. 

The CRA told CBC News it will post a list of eligible subscriptions on its website in March and that it will only include organizations that wish to have the information publicly posted. 

If you still have questions about your taxes, you can call the CRA tax information line at 1-800-959-8281. The agency said it has beefed up resources at its call centre, as it anticipates higher than normal call volumes this tax season.

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Pfizer sells $7.8 billion in Covid shots in the second quarter, raises 2021 guidance on vaccine sales – CNBC

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A person walks past the Pfizer building in New York City, March 2, 2021.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Pfizer said Wednesday it sold $7.8 billion in Covid-19 shots in the second quarter and raised its 2021 sales forecast for the vaccine to $33.5 billion from $26 billion, as the delta variant spreads and scientists debate whether people will need booster shots.

The company’s second-quarter financial results also beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenue. Here’s how Pfizer did compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $1.07 per share vs. 97 cents per share expected
  • Revenue: $18.98 billion vs. $18.74 billion forecast

Pfizer expects an adjusted pretax profit in the high 20% range of revenue for the vaccine.

The company now expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.95 to $4.05 per share. That’s up from its prior range of $3.55 to $3.65 per share. It expects revenue in the range of $78 billion to $80 billion, up from its previous estimate of $70.5 billion to $72.5 billion.

Shares of Pfizer dipped 0.4% in premarket trading.

“The second quarter was remarkable in a number of ways,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “Most visibly, the speed and efficiency of our efforts with BioNTech to help vaccinate the world against COVID-19 have been unprecedented, with now more than a billion doses of BNT162b2 having been delivered globally.”

Pfizer’s other business units also saw strong sales growth. Revenue from its oncology unit rose by 19% year over year to $3.1 billion. The company’s hospital unit generated $2.2 billion in revenue, up 21% from the prior year. Its internal medicine unit grew by 5% from a year ago to $2.4 billion.

Pfizer said earlier this month it was seeing signs of waning immunity induced by its Covid vaccine with German drugmaker BioNTech, and planned to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster dose. It also said it is developing a booster shot to target the delta variant.

In slides posted Wednesday alongside its earnings report, Pfizer said it could potentially file for an emergency use authorization for a booster dose with the FDA as early as August. It expects to begin clinical studies testing its delta variant vaccine in the same month.

It expects full approval for its two-dose vaccine by January 2022.

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Pearson airport won’t sort arriving passengers based on COVID-19 vaccination status – CityNews Toronto

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Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.

But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday.

Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”

She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.

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Fight over nickel assets heats up with BHP's $258m Noront bid – MINING.COM – MINING.com

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Noront is recommending that shareholders accept the bid, which comes through BHP Lonsdale, a subsidiary that already owns 3.7% of the Canadian nickel producer.

“BHP has the financial strength, world-class mining expertise, and commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to advance Eagle’s Nest and the Ring of Fire, which has the potential to deliver benefits to local communities, First Nations and, and Ontario for years to come,” Noront’s chief executive Alan Coutts said.

BHP is speeding up its push into future-facing commodities, including nickel, lithium and copper, which are poised to benefit from the green-energy transition.

BHP is speeding up its push into future-facing commodities, including nickel, lithium and copper, which are poised to benefit from the green-energy transition

Last week BHP sealed a nickel supply deal with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and is expected to decide on the giant Jansen potash project in Canada next month.

“Noront represents a growth opportunity in a prospective nickel basin capable of delivering a scalable, new nickel-sulphide district,” the Melbourne, Australia-based mining giant said in the statement.

The company is also in the process of exiting thermal coal and is considering exiting the oil and gas sector as part of its commitment to reduce emissions.

Wyloo Metals, which is Noront’s top shareholder with a 23% stake as of December, had in May offered C$0.315 per share for the stock it did not already hold in the company. Noront had adopted a poison pill strategy to stop the takeover.

BHP’s offer comes on the heels of its decision to move the exploration team headquarters to Toronto, Canada’s most populous city.

The company plans to almost double exploration spending for base metals within five years.

Noront owns the early-stage Eagle’s Nest nickel and copper deposit in the Ring of Fire of northern Ontario. It has been billed by Wyloo as the largest high-grade nickel discovery in Canada since the Voisey’s Bay nickel find in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  

Eagle’s Nest is expected to begin commercial production in 2026 with the mine running initially for 11 years.

The mine’s start date has repeatedly been pushed back by Noront due to successive federal and provincial governments’ inability to consult and reach unanimous agreement with First Nations in the area.

Nickel production would need to increase nearly fourfold to meet expected demand for electric and hybrid vehicles, the company estimates. Likewise, copper output would also need to grow exponentially to meet demand from renewable power generation, battery storage, electric vehicles, charging stations and related grid infrastructure.

Tesla’s boss Elon Musk has expressed worries about a looming nickel shortage. He pleaded with miners last year to produce more nickel, promising a “giant contract” for supply produced efficiently and in an “environmentally sensitive way.”

The EV maker became involved in March in the development of the conflict-ridden New Caledonia nickel mine, as part of the company’s attempt to secure enough supply.

BHP’s offers coincides with Canada’s push to position the country as a hub for clean-tech metals.

The bid is conditional on the acceptance of shareholders that own more than 50% of Noront’s common shares, excluding the small stake that BHP already owns.

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