I hope your family is doing well and staying connected during this lockdown period. We have now been battling COVID-19 for a year, and I know that it may not feel like much of an accomplishment, but your efforts have made a significant impact on the lives of others – containing the spread, and helping our community thrive during this difficult time.
The start of this new year also means that tax season is right around the corner. It may be different this year with less in-person visits to do your taxes and more people than ever completing them online.
This year we will be seeing some changes to tax rules related to COVID-19. For example, if you have been forced to work from home during the pandemic, there is a simplified way to claim $2 per day in work expenses, up to $400 if you worked from home in 2020.
Each tax season, our office offers free tax clinics hosted by CRA volunteers for people who have a lower income. This year, we are offering these tax services virtually. If you have an income below $35,000.00 as an individual (or $45,000.00 as a couple) you can contact our office to book an appointment (Bryan.May@parl.gc.ca).
One question I have received a lot lately is how we are addressing international travel while trying to keep our cases low. While the statistics show that travel-related cases are currently very low (around 1%), there is still concern about new variants entering Canada from travel, and any new source of cases is a reason for concern. Our government is bringing in new measures to respond to the recent behaviour of some Canadians who continue to travel for leisure. Now, Canadian airlines will not fly to certain sun destinations such as the Carribean and Mexico. Also, all international travellers must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test upon landing. Soon, travellers will be required to be tested again once arrived in Canada and spend a few days quarantined in an approved hotel at their own cost, while this test is being completed. After that, they will continue their regular quarantine at home, once their test has come back negative.
I hope that you have a good winter, and as the days get longer as we move into the spring season, I hope you continue to stay strong.
All my best,
Bryan May, MP