CERB and CEBA Collections

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March 7, 2023

CERB and CEBA collections are ramping up at the CRA, and people are confused with mixed messaging through the media.  Some reports have said the government will not be pursuing collections against people who received funds in error, while others are saying that they will pursue people who received funds fraudulently or deliberately when they ought not have.

So, which is it?  Who can decipher the inner machinations of either the government or the CRA, I know I can’t.  More than half of the Canadian workforce applied for CERB benefits at one point or another, and many people who clearly should not have qualified were qualified because there were no gatekeepers on the applications.  And hundreds of thousands of businesses received the CEBA benefits with larger corporations benefit from the 25% donation from the government while small businesses had little or no idea what the rules were.

As we blogged more than two years ago, the banks had no idea what was going on, the CRA was completely in the dark and so was the EDC, even though they all had a role in the administration of the CEBA scheme.  Now, it appears that many small businesses have been unable to repay the amounts taken and few such entities have received a benefit from the 25% forgiveness.  Proprietors/partners appear to be personally liable for the full amount of the outstanding loans, up to $60,000, while corporations, including small, closely held, corporations are liable.  The debt dies with corporations that are either in abeyance or that have filed for bankruptcy.

The CRA have sent out collection letters to all and sundry with mixed expectations on returns.  If you did get an overpayment for CERB you will be pursued for collection, it is a personal debt.  Similarly, if your received CEBA for your small business you will be expected to repay that amount ($40,000-$60,000).  However, in any event a proposal or a bankruptcy can help you find relief and put you back on track to live debt free.

If you are subject to CERB and CEBA collections, call the office to book your free, no obligation consultation 519-646-2222