how much tax will i pay on cerb

This is how much tax you'll need to pay on CERB in Canada

How much tax will you need to pay on CERB? Well, that depends on a variety of factors, including how much money you make in 2020, which province you live in, and how much money you claimed from the benefit.

First, let's recap what exactly the benefit is.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit for eligible people who have lost their income as a result of the pandemic; you can claim $2,000 each month for up to six months.

Unlike with a typical paycheque, CERB payments don't have taxes taken off the top, which means you'll likely be expected to pay part of each $2,000 payment back to the government in April.

Let's start with the good news; some people probably won't have to pay anything back at all.

For example, if you're making less than $13,229 each year (the basic personal exemption for federal taxes), then you won't owe federal income taxes.

Similarly, if your only income in 2020 is CERB and you claim the full $12,000, then you won't owe anything in Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan, per HuffPost Canada.

Most people, however, will have to pay taxes on CERB when April rolls around, and tax rates could vary drastically.

To calculate your own individual tax rate, you'll need to know the following:

  • your federal tax bracket
  • your provincial tax bracket
  • your total income for 2020 (this number will likely be a guess; you can start by adding the amount you expect to receive from CERB, and your pre-pandemic income)

After that, you can use an online tax calculator to figure out how much you're likely to owe in taxes.

Let's consider some examples.

Sarah, an Ontario resident, earned $6,000 until March, when she was laid off. She expects to collect $12,000 in CERB for 2020, bringing her estimated income to $20,000.

She should therefore set aside 20 per cent (or $2,400) of her $12,000 CERB to cover her tax liability. If she expects to be re-hired in the autumn, she should set aside slightly more.

Ben, a Nova Scotia resident, is a working professional who expects to earn $50,000 in 2020. He was furloughed for a few months and claimed $4,000 in CERB during that time before returning to work, bringing his estimated income to $54,000.

Ben will therefore need to set aside about 43 per cent ($1,720) of his $4,000 CERB to cover his tax liability.

Lead photo by

Tim Gouw


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in News

Black Lives Matter mural in Calgary on hold after organizers receive threats

There's now a movement for a universal basic income to replace CERB in Canada

Edmonton facing backlash after handing out mask exemption cards

The Perseid meteor shower is lighting up the night sky across Canada

B.C. woman charged after visiting Nova Scotia brewery without self-isolating

Joe Biden's new running mate Kamala Harris has a strong connection to Canada

Canada seizes $1M in cocaine that was about to be smuggled underwater from ship

Map shows number of COVID-19 cases varies widely across Canada