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

Important

For the period from March 15, 2020, to December 31, 2022, we have adopted the same policies concerning commuting costs and parking provided by an employer as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). To view them, see Employer-provided Benefits and Allowances on the CRA's website. Our positions on computer and office equipment needed to work from home and parking provided by an employer are covered elsewhere in this FAQ.

For our policies on free or subsidized meals and internet and cell phone costs (payment, reimbursement and allowances), see guide IN-253-V, Taxable Benefits.

End of note

Computer and office equipment

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

Given the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19, we consider that the total or partial reimbursement of up to $500 for computer or office equipment that an employee purchased between March 15, 2020, and December 31, 2022, in order to work from home is not a taxable benefit for the employee, since it is the employer who gains the most from the purchase.

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

Telework

Important

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

End of note
Do employers need to complete form TP-64.3-V, General Employment Conditions, for all their employees working from home in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic?Updated

Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time for at least one month (four consecutive weeks) in 2021 and who incurred related expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to deduct some of those expenses in their 2021 income tax return.

If an employee chooses to calculate their teleworking expenses using the temporary fixed rate method, their employer does not have to complete form TP-64.3-V, General Employment Conditions

If an employee chooses to use the detailed method, their employer must complete form TP-64.3-V. In this case, employers can: 

Employers must use the version of form TP-64.3-V on our website for employees that want to claim a deduction for other types of employment-related expenses. 

Employers must sign each form electronically and give it to their employees so that they can enclose it with their 2021 income tax return. For more information, see Electronic Signatures.

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?Updated

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 2021, 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 2021 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.

The reimbursement of an employee's personal expenses by an employer must be entered in boxes A, G, I 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 by an employee to purchase personal computer equipment or office equipment from March 15, 2020, to December 31, 2022, 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, G, I and L of the employee's RL-1 slip.

What employment expenses are deductible?Updated

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?Updated

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 and 2021 taxation years.

Credit for contributions to the health services fund

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

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 credit is paid for 2020 and 2021 only. The claim periods are as follows:  

  • 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
  • June 6 to July 3, 2021
  • July 4 to July 31, 2021
  • August 1 to August 28, 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?Updated

Employers must complete the Summary of Source Deductions and Employer Contributions (RLZ‑1.S-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.

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

The credit for contributions to the health services fund for 2020 and 2021 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?Updated

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. 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.

Requirements to pay for GST debts remained suspended and have expired. Unless otherwise specified, a requirement to pay is only valid for 12 months following the date an employer receives it. However, recovery measures for GST debts resumed on February 15, 2021, and are also covered by relief measures such as those for QST debts. Therefore, new requirements to pay may have been issued to employers since that date. In such cases, employers had to start garnishing the income of certain employees and remitting the amounts to us.

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