Tax Services

Ontario introduces new COVID-19-related supports for businesses

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On December 22, 2021, the Ontario government introduced new measures to help support businesses through the pandemic’s fifth wave caused by the Omicron variant. The measures include the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program and a six-month interest and penalty-free period for the payment of certain provincial taxes.

Updated January 10, 2022

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program (property tax and energy costs)

The Ontario government is providing eligible businesses with a rebate of a portion of their property tax and energy costs incurred. Eligible businesses that are required to close for indoor activities (e.g. restaurants, gyms) will be eligible for a 100% rebate of their property tax and energy costs. Eligible businesses that are required to operate at a reduced capacity of 50% (e.g. small retail stores) will be eligible for a 50% rebate of those same costs.

Online applications will open on January 18, 2022. The list of eligible businesses is expected prior to the launch of the application portal. As part of the application process, property tax and energy bills will need to be submitted. Eligible businesses will be able to claim costs retroactive to December 19, 2021.

Furthermore, as of January 18, 2022 for 21 days thereafter, electricity rates for small businesses will be capped at the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, 24 hours a day. It will automatically apply to small businesses and farms that pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a utility bill, for both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans. The same cap will apply on residential rates.

Six-month deferral of provincially administered taxes

The Ontario government will be allowing Ontario businesses to defer payment of certain provincially administered taxes on an interest and penalty-free basis for six months between January 1, 2022 and July 1, 2022. Although the government does not specify which businesses will qualify for this, it does state that “approximately 80,000 Ontario businesses” will be able to take advantage of this deferral.

The deferral would apply to the following provincially administered taxes:

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Insurance Premium Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement
  • Gas Tax
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans
  • Mining Tax
  • Race Tracks Tax

The Ontario government’s news release also states that it is “inviting the federal government” to consider a similar six-month deferral for the remittance of HST collected in December on an interest-free basis, with the objective to help businesses free up cash flow during that period.