How COVID-19 Affects Canadians Living Abroad


When the COVID-19 pandemic started, it impacted everyone, all over the world, including Canadians living abroad. Not only were they potentially unable to return home to Canada, but for many, it was and continues to be a time of great stress as they might have been cut off from regular Canadian financial support measures.

We understand how important it is for all Canadians, including those not currently within our borders, to know what financial measures are available to help them during this difficult time.

At H&R Block, we’re committed to helping you know exactly what you can apply for while you are out of the country, and what else you might need to know as this pandemic continues to impact everyone all over the world. Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

  • Tax Filing Deadlines
  • What Happens if you File your Taxes Late
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
  • Additional Measures
  • How H&R Block Can Help
  • Tax Filing Deadlines
    The deadline to file income tax returns was extended to June 1st 2020, for both Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec tax returns. The deadline to pay any amounts owing was also extended to September 30th 2020.

    You can see a full list of tax deadline updates at this link.

    What Happens if you File your Taxes Late
    As long as you filed by September 30th, there shouldn’t be any problem. However, any further delay filing your taxes could mean an interruption to your benefit payments, GST payments, etc.

    If you’re ready to file your taxes, H&R Block can help! Take a look at our Do-It-Yourself tax software and get started today, from anywhere around the world.

    Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
    Although you must be a Canadian resident to apply for the CERB program, you would still qualify if you lived outside Canada but were a factual resident and if you earned at least $5,000 in the past 12 months (or in 2019) outside of Canada.

    Although there won’t be any taxes taken off the amount you receive through CERB, it’s important for you to know that it’s a taxable benefit, meaning that you’ll have to pay taxes on any amounts you receive, when you prepare and file your 2020 taxes (in 2021). How much you owe will depend on your tax bracket and how much tax was withheld from your other income. You can learn more from the information at this link.

    Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
    Eligible Canadian seniors, even those who are living abroad, should have received a one-time, $300 tax-free payment for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, plus an additional $200 for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The payments were provided automatically to all eligible recipients as of July 6th 2020. However, anyone living outside of Canada can expect delays receiving this payment.

    Additional Measures
    The Federal government has put several other measures into place that would be eligible for Canadians living abroad, including a one-time tax-free payment of $600 for persons with disabilities, who hold a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate or who receive Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and/or Québec Pension Plan (QPP) disability benefits or disability supports from Veterans Affairs Canada. The $600 payment will be reduced for people who also received the special one-time payment for seniors. However, Canadians living abroad can expect delays receiving their payments.

    How H&R Block Can Help
    If you have any questions about the impact of these changes, or if you’re wanting to prepare and file your taxes for any tax year but aren’t sure where to start, H&R Block Tax Experts are here to help. You can contact us at any time – we’re here to help. Or, check out how H&R Block can specifically help Canadians abroad, at this link.