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Newsletter March 23rd, 2020

Dear clients,
There is uncertainty in our world, and many around us feel lost as we try to make sense of all that is happening. We know that with new information coming at us daily, all of us, our governments and our communities, are struggling to make the right decisions quickly and prudently. As a result of all of this, there is a real sense of stress and concern weighing on all of us.
But you are not alone. We will face these challenges together, and we will work together to take care of one another. The team at Shajani are committed to providing our clients with sound, well researched professional advice during this pandemic. We will endeavor to communicate government benefits and best practices to help you navigate your businesses through this crisis.
For so many of us, the temporary closures of our businesses has been difficult and has shaken us to our core. We understand that for an entrepreneur, this may be your life’s work being shuttered with no clear picture of when life will get back to normal.
Where it is prudent, we will advise on how to mitigate cash flow, apply for government subsidies, financing considerations, plan, deferral and savings of tax, use of technologies to transition businesses online and other best practices for business and business owners.
Currently the best advice is to consider if this downturn will affect your cash flow in the coming week, months or even next year. If this is a strong likelihood, consider if the government subsidy of up to 10% of wages paid to your employees will help you sustain the anticipated decreased revenues. If that is not the case, you may be forced to lay off your employees and may advise them of what to expect from EI benefits. As a self-employed individual, you may also receive emergency funding through EI as outlined in the Federal Government’s March 18 announcements. Details are to be made available in April.
Additional cash flow measures include a discussion with your bank and landlord. Banks in particular have relief measures that may include up to six month of no payments on your business loans and personal mortgagees.
Additional supports are available from the Alberta government, including a one-time Alberta Financial Relief Benefit of $1,142 geared towards the self-employed who have to self-quarantine, tax deferrals, utility payment deferrals and loans from ATB financial.
We have been closely following the developments around COVID-19 and have made arraignments for our team’s safety. Our offices remain open with minimal staff as the majority of our team are working from home. We are working hard to get your tax filings completed, reorganize your corporations and keep your records up to date. While there are tax deadline extensions, you may wish to file your taxes early if you anticipate a refund or other tax benefits in the coming months.
Tax deadlines have been extended as follows:
·      Personal taxes due June 1st
·      Tax Payments due between March 18th and August 31st are due August 31st
·      Trust filings for December 31st are due May 1st.
COVID-19 Federal Benefits and Supports
What do I get from EI?
We are seeing a record amount of layoffs and anticipate more. COVID-19 will result in a number of people relying on employment insurance (EI) for an extended period of time.
Apply for benefits as soon as you stop working. Delays may result in lost benefits.
COVID-19 Federal Benefits and Supports
Laying Off Employees
During these difficult times, we are seeing a large number of layoffs due to temporary business closures or loss of business.
If you are laying off employees due to COVID-19, the following considerations need to be made on the employees record of employment (ROE).
Generally, you have five days after the end of the pay period in which an employee’s interruption of earning occurs to issue an ROE. This interruption of earnings includes layoffs due to COVID-19 as well as other layoffs, retirement, resignation or dismissal. The employee will need the ROE to determine if they are entitled to employment insurance (EI) benefits.
COVID-19 Federal Benefits and Supports
Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
On March 18th the federal government announced temporary wage subsidies for employers.
The temporary wage subsidy for employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
COVID-19 Federal Benefits and Supports
Relief from Bank Loans
Business closures and the quarantined public due to COVID-19 will result in cash flow concerns for a large number of businesses. The government has encouraged banks, and most banks seem to oblige with payment arraignments during this difficult time.
Many businesses are going to be faced with a significant decrease or no revenues in the coming weeks and months. This will put a dire cash flow strain on the business. Corporations have initiated mass layoffs as a way to mitigate costs. The other major costs form most businesses are rents and loan payments.
Banks understand these are difficult times and the unsettling prospects many businesses are facing. Most of these institutions have introduced financial relief programs for those impacted by COVID-19 for their small business customers.
COVID-19 Alberta Benefits and Supports
Our firm is here to help our clients gain access to COVID-19 benefits. We understand these are unprecedented times and many of you are facing uncertainty and difficulties in your businesses.  We will aim to communicate and assist in benefits that are available.
Premier Jason Kenny announced measures to help Albertan’s cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a summary of what will be made available.
Since the beginning of March, restrictions and measures related to COVID-19 have rapidly escalated. While the first stages focused on public health and safety, in very short order, businesses and personal finances began to be affected. It is clear that these challenges will become worse before they get better. In an effort to combat these effects, the Government of Canada released a series of financial measures in mid-March.
For more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your regular connections at our firm. If you have any questions about our own preparedness or if we can be of assistance in ensuring your ability to address these new challenges. We recognize that this may be a prolonged effort and wanted you to be fully aware of our commitment to help you navigate these challenges and advance your business objectives. We will continue to update you as things progress or business protocols change. We will continue to update you on any government support that is put in place.
We are grateful for our clients and will endeavor to see you through these challenging times. We wish you the best of health and safely.
With regards from our partners,
Nizam Shajani – Shafiq Shajani