Will CRA audit your CERB ?


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments were put in place to help Canadians who lost their jobs or were temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of Canadians are employed in the service industry and this sector was the hit the hardest. Most service industry workers either earn minimum wage or a bit above the minimum wage which makes them vulnerable as they live paycheck to paycheck.

It’s important that beneficiaries of this application are honest during the application process. There are those who will try and take advantage of the system while others unknowingly might make the mistake receiving benefits due to misinformation of their eligibility.

Can the CRA track the payments?

Even though the CRA has made the CERB process easier to get much-needed cash into Canadian’s pockets, some might think that the CRA won’t be able to track the eligibility and amount that they might have received.

Unfortunately, that is not true. With the latest auditing tools and fraud detection systems in place, automating and analyzing data has become much easier.


Tip lines

The CRA has also set up a fraud reporting line for citizens to report fraud that could help identify those that have claimed CERB benefits under false pretenses.

Having spent up to $71 billion on the CERB program, its silly to think that the government wouldn’t have put a fraud detection plan against this. During your application, you have to ensure that you don’t double-dip by applying through the CRA as well as Service Canada.


What Can you Do if you receive payments you are not eligible for?

If you do end up applying through both the CRA and Service Canada and receive more than what you are eligible for, you have to remember that your social insurance number is linked to your CRA account. Instead of having to deal with CRA down the road, you might as well it back sooner.


Here are some reasons you could be flagged


1. You are under the age of 15

Since Cerb is tied to the social insurance number and birth date, its very easy to identify those who shouldn’t have received the benefit.


2. You didn’t earn enough income in the past

For applicants reporting their CERB benefit on their 2020 tax returns and haven’t earned $5000 on their 2019, you could get flagged for a review of your CERB benefit.


3. You didn’t earn the right type of income

In order to qualify for the CERB, you must have earned either employment income or self-employment income in 2019. CRA can simply look at your 2019 tax return and know if you didn’t earn these types of income.


4. You earned too much during your claim period.

To qualify for this program, you cant earn more than $1000 in any 14-day period for the first four weeks or the for the four-week period thereafter.


5. Relying on the Leads Programs

If anyone is receiving the CERB inappropriately, people are given an opportunity to report them. If someone reports you to the leads program, you could be flagged.


Source: The Globe and Mail