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Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has published the prescribed annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the agency and to any amounts owed by the agency to individuals and corporations. These rates will be in effect from Jan. 1, 2019, to Mar. 31, 2019.

The only change is in the interest rate for corporate taxpayers’ pertinent loans or indebtedness, which will increase to 5.67% from 5.45% last quarter.

The interest rate charged on overdue taxes, Canada Pension Plan contributions and employment insurance premiums remains the same as last quarter, at 6%.

Other interest rates also remain unchanged from last quarter. The interest rate to be paid on corporate taxpayer overpayments will be 2%; on non-corporate taxpayer overpayments, 4%. And the rate used to calculate taxable benefits for employees and shareholders from interest‑free and low-interest loans will be 2%.

Tax changes in 2019

The new year also brings tax changes at the federal level that will affect just about every Canadian, as well as small businesses.

One of the first changes workers will see is an increase in Canada Pension Plan premiums coming off their paycheques—the first of five years of hikes to pay for enhancements to the pension plan.

Read: Estimating the cost of CPP additions for employees

Employment Insurance premiums, on the other hand, will drop by four cents for every $100 of insurable earnings.

Meanwhile, the small-business tax rate is going down from 10% to 9%. But changes to how much passive income a small business can hold are also coming into effect, which is expected to push some businesses into paying a much higher corporate tax rate.

Also in 2019, low-income workers can qualify for an increase in the Canada Workers Benefit. But they will have to wait until 2020 to receive the extra money.

The federal government’s new carbon pricing system will also come into effect in provinces that don’t have carbon pricing mechanisms of their own, resulting in higher costs for fossil fuels by April, and direct rebates to partly offset the increased costs.

Conservative Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is already gearing up to make it an issue leading to the October federal election, calling 2019 the year of the carbon tax.