COVID-19: FAQ for Employers

This page presents answers to the most frequently asked questions we have received in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. We hope they give you the information you need.

Taxable benefits

Benefit related to the use of an automobile

In keeping with the principle of harmonization of tax legislation regarding automobiles, the same temporary rules for 2020 and 2021 concerning the calculation of an automobile benefit applicable under the federal tax system will also apply under Québec's tax system.

What conditions need to be met to reduce the value of the standby charge?

Employers can generally reduce the value of the standby charge related to an automobile when all of the following conditions are met:

  • the employer requires that the employee use the automobile to perform his or her duties;
  • the employee's use of the automobile for the performance of his or her duties represents more than 50% of its overall use;
  • the number of kilometres that the employee travels for personal purposes does not exceed 1,667 per 30-day period or a total of 20,004 in the year.

If the conditions listed above were met for 2019 and the automobile was provided by the same employer as in 2019, the employee's use of the automobile in the performance of his or her duties for 2020 and 2021 is considered to be more than 50% of its overall use.

In addition, the calculation of the automobile benefit for 2020 and 2021 will be made using data specific to the two taxation years.

How are benefits related to the automobile's operating expenses calculated?

In most cases, employers can calculate the benefit related to an automobile's operating expenses using form TP-41.C-V, Calculation of an Automobile Benefit, or one of the methods described below.

Basic method

Under this method, the benefit related to the personal-use portion of an automobile's operating expenses is calculated at $0.28/km for 2020 and $0.27/km for 2021. If the employee's duties consist mainly in selling or leasing automobiles, the benefit is calculated at $0.25/km for 2020 and $0.24/km for 2021.

Simplified method

Employers can use this method to calculate the benefit related to an automobile's operating expenses when both of the following conditions are met:

  • the employee's use of the automobile in the performance of his or her duties is more than 50% of its overall use;
  • the employee has notified the employer in writing, before the end of the year, that he or she would like the simplified calculation method to be used.

Under this method, the benefit related to an automobile's operating expenses is equal to half of the reasonable value of the standby charge, calculated without deducting any standby-charge amounts the employee may have reimbursed.

If a given employee met both conditions for the simplified method in 2019, the same method can be used for 2020 and 2021 even if the employee does not inform the employer that he or she would like it to be used for those years.

Note that benefit related to the operating expenses of an automobile is equal to the lesser of the following amounts:

  • the benefit for automobile operation expenses calculated based on the prescribed rate per kilometre given above (basic method); or
  • half of the reasonable value of the standby charge (simplified method).

Computer and office equipment

When an employer gives an employee money to buy equipment needed for teleworking, is it considered a taxable benefit for the employee?

Given the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19, we do not consider the total or partial reimbursement of up to $500 for necessary computer or office equipment that an employee purchased for teleworking as a taxable benefit for the employee. We consider that the employer gains the most from the purchase.

However, if the reimbursement exceeds $500, the excess is taxable and must be included in boxes A and L of the employee's RL-1 slip.

Parking

Does parking provided by an employer still constitute a taxable benefit if an employee is working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Generally speaking, parking at an employee's regular workplace provided by an employer for free or at a reduced rate is a taxable benefit for the employee. The value of the benefit is usually based on the availability rather than the actual use of the parking space. As a result, it corresponds to the fair market value of the parking space minus any amount the employee pays to use it.

For an employee working from home after March 12, 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of the parking benefit is nil—because the employee cannot get to their regular workplace, the parking space is not available.

However, this does not apply when an employee is on vacation or sick leave or working from home voluntarily.

Telework

Important

The information below only concerns employers with employees working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Do employers need to complete form TP-64.3-V, General Employment Conditions, for all their employees working from home in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Employees who incurred expenses to work from home in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to deduct certain expenses in their 2020 income tax return.

Employees who choose to calculate their teleworking expenses using the temporary fixed rate method do not need to have their employer complete form TP-64.3-V, General Employment Conditions

However, employees who choose the detailed method cannot deduct their expenses unless they have their employer complete the form. 

  • Employers that had few employees working from home in 2020 can complete the 2020-10 version of form TP-64.3-V for each of them, sign it (see the e-signature questions below) and send it to them so that they can enclose it with their 2020 income tax returns.
  • Employers that had many employees working from home in 2020 can use the Order Prefilled TP-64.3-V Forms online service (in French only) to prefill and download form TP-64.3-V for their teleworking employees. Employers can sign the form electronically and send it to their employees so that they can enclose it with their 2020 income tax returns. To learn more about the service, click Access the Order Prefilled TP-64.3-V Forms online service.
Note
The Ministère des Finances has published a new calculator to help employees choose the best method for calculating their teleworking expenses.
How do employers complete form TP-64.3-V, General Employment Conditions, for an employee working from home?

Read on for help completing certain sections of form TP-64.3-V, General Employment Conditions, for an employee who is working from home.

Questions concerning the employment (section 3.1)

The employee's period of employment is the period during which you employed the employee in 2020, including while he or she was working from home.

Expenses related to working remotely (section 3.6)

If the employee worked from home more than 50% of the time for at least one month (four consecutive weeks) in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he or she may be able to deduct some of the related expenses.

An employee who paid for office supplies (paper, pencils, ink cartridges, etc.) used directly in the course of his or her duties can deduct certain expenses related to working from home (see the next question to find out what expenses are deductible).

To learn more about home office expenses and deductible supplies, see guide IN-118-V, Employment Expenses.

Except where the Taxation Act provides otherwise, the reimbursement of an employee's personal expenses by an employer must be included in the employee's income. Generally, it must be entered in boxes A and L of the employee's RL-1 slip.

However, given the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we consider that the total or partial reimbursement of up to $500 in expenses (supported by receipts) incurred to purchase personal computer equipment or office equipment for the purpose of working remotely is not a taxable benefit for the employee, since the employer gains the most from it. If the reimbursement exceeds $500, the excess is taxable and must be included in boxes A and L of the employee's RL-1 slip.

What employment expenses are deductible?

Deductible expenses

The most common teleworking expenses are listed below.

  • paper, pencils, ink cartridges, staples, paperclips, envelopes and pens;
  • postage fees;
  • the portion of an Internet service package that is reasonably attributable to the performance of your employees' work;
  • work-related long-distance calls; 
  • cellphone calls (including mobile plan fees or prepaid airtime fees, provided they are calculated in proportion to the use of the phone for work);
  • heating, electricity, cleaning products, lightbulbs and minor repairs;
  • the portion of public utilities expenses included in condo fees, if applicable;
  • a reasonable part of the rent related to the home office space.

Non-deductible expenses

The following expenses cannot be deducted in the income tax return:

  • office furniture (desk, chair, etc.);
  • office equipment (printer, fax machine, briefcase, laptop case or bag, calculator, etc.);
  • the purchase of a cellphone, computer, laptop, tablet, fax machine, etc.;
  • computer accessories (monitor, mouse, keyboard, headset, microphone, speakers, webcam, router, etc.);
  • the rental value of the home office, if the employee owns his or her home;
  • monthly landline telephone expenses;
  • cellphone licencing or activation fees;
  • other electronics (television, smart speakers, digital assistant, etc.);
  • insurance premiums, taxes and property taxes related to the office, unless the employee is paid by commission;
  • capital cost allowance;
  • mortgage interest;
  • mortgage capital payments;
  • capital expenditures (replacement of windows, floors, furnace, etc).
If an employee who normally reports for work at one of his or her employer's establishments outside Québec (but in Canada) begins working from home temporarily due to COVID-19 and is paid from an establishment in Québec, does the employee's province of employment change?

No. When an employee works from home temporarily due solely to COVID-19, the employee's province of employment remains the one he or she usually worked from immediately before working from home.

This measure applies to the 2020 taxation year and at least part of the 2021 taxation year. It will end at a later date contingent on the pandemic.

Credit for contributions to the health services fund

What is the credit for contributions to the health services fund?

This credit complements the federal Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Employers with an establishment in Québec that are eligible for the CEWS for a claim period can also receive the credit for contributions to the health services fund for the same period in respect of employees who are on paid leave because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim periods for both programs are the same:

  • March 15 to April 11, 2020
  • April 12 to May 9, 2020
  • May 10 to June 6, 2020
  • June 7 to July 4, 2020
  • July 5 to August 1, 2020
  • August 2 to 29, 2020
  • August 30 to September 26, 2020
  • September 27 to October 24, 2020
  • October 25 to November 21, 2020
  • November 22 to December 19, 2020
  • December 20, 2020, to January 16, 2021
  • January 17 to February 13, 2021
  • February 14 to March 13, 2021
  • March 14 to April 10, 2021
  • April 11 to May 8, 2021
  • May 9 to June 5, 2021

The credit for contributions to the health services fund that an employer can claim is equal to the total health services fund contribution the employer made for a week included in a claim period on the salary and wages paid to employees on paid leave due to COVID-19.

Can all employers get the credit for contributions to the health services fund?

No. This credit is granted to employers who are eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and have an establishment in Québec.

Employers who are eligible for only the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers are not eligible for the credit for contributions to the health services fund.

Does the credit for contributions to the health services fund cover all employees?

No. The credit covers only employees who are on paid leave for an entire week during the eligibility period. It does not cover employees who work during a given week, even if it is for just a few hours. Likewise, employees who received no remuneration from the employer for at least 14 consecutive days during an eligibility period that ended on or before July 4, 2020, are not eligible for that period.

How do employers claim the credit for contributions to the health services fund?

Employers must complete the Summary of Source Deductions and Employer Contributions (RLZ‑1.S-V or RLZ-1.ST-V) in order to claim the credit for contributions to the health services fund for 2020 and 2021. No other documents are required. We may contact employers afterwards to check their eligibility for the credit.

An employer can deduct the amount of the credit for contributions to the health services fund from the periodic payments of the contribution to the health services fund to be made to Revenu Québec. The amount must be related to the salary and wages paid to an employee on paid leave before the deadline for making a periodic payment and must not have reduced another periodic payment. However, the employer cannot amend a source deductions and employer contributions return filed before May 1, 2020, to take into account the credit for contributions to the health services fund.

How do employers calculate the credit for contributions to the health services fund?

The credit for contributions to the health services fund is equal to the salaries and wages subject to the contribution to the health services fund paid, for a week included in a qualifying period, to an employee who was on paid leave (unless the employee was not remunerated during a period of at least 14 consecutive days included in a qualifying period ended on or before July 4, 2020) multiplied by the health services fund contribution rate.

If an employee is paid every two weeks and one of the two weeks is included in a qualifying period, only the portion of the salaries and wages subject to the contribution to the health services fund paid in that week will give entitlement to the credit for contributions to the health services fund.

Filing the source deductions and employer contributions return

Have the deadlines for reporting source deductions and employer contributions and paying amounts due been extended?

No. The usual deadlines apply, regardless of your remittance frequency.

Recovery of tax debts

I'm an employer. I received an income garnishment notice or requirement to pay but was asked by Revenu Québec to suspend it as of March 17, 2020. What do I have to do now?

If you received an income garnishment notice or requirement to pay regarding a tax debt, we asked you to stop applying it from March 17 to October 5, 2020.

Given the situation since October 5, 2020, we have gradually resumed recovery measures, contingent on the relief measures still in effect. Income garnishments for Québec tax debts therefore resumed on that date (requirements to pay for GST debts remained suspended). As a result, you once again had to start garnishing the income of certain employees and remitting the amounts to us. Depending on your situation, you received a letter to that effect dated October 2, 2020. If you did not apply the garnishment by October 5, 2020, you must pay an amount equal to the amount you should have remitted.

Recovery measures for GST debts resumed on February 15, 2021, and are also covered by relief measures such as those for QST debts.

Unless otherwise specified, a requirement to pay is only valid for 12 months following the date an employer receives it. This means that requirements to pay that were suspended as of March 17, 2020, have now expired. Since GST debts must still be recovered, we may send you new requirements to pay.

Fair. For all.

One vision. Concrete actions.

Read all about how we work to support and inform you. Our vision and values guide us as we carry out our role.

Veuillez patienter