how to pay back CERB

This is how to pay back CERB if you shouldn't have received it in the first place

Canadians who applied for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) last month were very swiftly granted their funds — so swiftly, in fact, that some may need to send the money back.  

A lot changes in a few days, especially during a pandemic, so there a number of reasons why Canadians might no longer be eligible for the 4-week period that they applied for, in which case they should return the money, stat.

Some people may have earned employment or self-employment income earlier than they expected, meaning they made more than $1,000 before taxes within 14 days in a row.

Or, you've been rehired by your employer and will be receiving back-pay for that 4-week period.

Others might have accidentally applied for the fund twice, and received a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period. 

Then there's the possibility that applicants only realized they weren't elgible for the CERB after they received their $2,000 cheque or direct deposit. 

If any of those are the case, you should repay your CERB payment before December 31, 2020, says the Canadian government. 

You can do so by mailing your cheque back to the government via the Sudbury Tax Centre (1050 Notre Dame Ave, Greater Sudbury, ON P3A 5C2) with a letter stating your reason for returning the cheque, and your Social Insurance Number or TTN. 

If you no longer have the original cheque, or were paid by direct deposit, you can create a CRA My Account to make the payment, or just write a new cheque made out to "Receiver General for Canada". 

Make sure to check the government's website for detailed instructions on how to repay your CERB, lest you risk paying taxes on additional income or losing access to other benefits. 

Lead photo by

Varun Gaba


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