Following the announcement made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 9, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has come out with updates and statements regarding what they are doing moving forward when it comes to CERB fraud and repayments.
Here’s a breakdown of what was announced.
190,000 CERB repayments made by Canadians says the CRA
According to the CRA, nearly 190,000 repayments of the emergency benefits were made by Canadians who were ineligible for the money they received.
It was mentioned that at any time (including at the time of applying for the CERB or at a later date) the CRA can and will be verifying a claimant’s information.
Should the claimant of the CERB benefit program be found ineligible, they will be contacted to make arrangements to repay the amount received.
The number of repayments made was official on June 3rd, where many of the payments were made through the CRA’s online portal.
CRA spokesperson Christopher Doody has gone on to say that the agency is looking into 600 tips they’ve received about the potential abuse of the CERB and other COVID-19 related benefits.
He also asks that if you suspect someone is misusing CERB or any of the other aid programs, submission of a report to the CRA is encouraged.
“Any tips received will be reviewed for validity of the information provided,” Doody said.
For more instructions on how to repay the CERB for ineligible applicants and or submit any tips if you suspect someone is misusing the CERB, information has been published on the CRA website.
Abuse tips under review
When the CERB was first announced, many Canadians submitted applications for aid benefits so that they could receive money right away, but as a result, there was confusion as to what benefits would be received.
According to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, there was an “understandable confusion” when it came to CERB and employment insurance (EI).
“The new CERB was indeed very new. Most Canadians had difficulty understanding exactly how and when it would be delivered… So, most of these people, the vast majority of these people, are people that applied twice and received a double payment and they reimbursed half of those double payments,” Duclos said.
Conservative employment critic Dan Albas says that the confusion about the CERB and payment signups as a whole are to be attributed to the Liberals for sending out confusing messages about the benefits.
“The Liberals’ mixed messages when it comes to the CERB has caused confusion for Canadians who applied for the benefit… This has left a large number of Canadians worried if they are eligible for the benefit or not,” Albas said.
“Clear and concise communications are crucial during a crisis. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals have done the exact opposite”.
The CRA has gone on to say that they have kept records of the individuals who received the benefits and for what periods they received them. Using tax slips from employers and other information, the CRA says they’re going to verify the claimant’s eligibility.
Fraud to be “aggressively” pursued
According to Christopher Doody, “The CRA continues to aggressively pursue tax evasion and fraud with all the tools available to them”.
Doody went on to say that they believe that a vast majority of Canadians are honest and that the CRA has an effective system that will allow them to manage the small amount of people who have committed fraud through CERB benefits.
“The CRA is dedicated to ensuring that individuals receive only those benefits to which they are entitled so that important benefit programs can be administered to those who need them”.
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