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The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is an initiative of the Government of Canada.  The official Government website is

What Happens to CEBA Loan if Business Closes

What Happens to CEBA Loan if Business Closes
Reading Time: 8 minutes

In the unpredictable world of business, sometimes even the best-laid plans can spin out of control, leading to the unfortunate closure of enterprises. If you have taken a CEBA loan, you might be grappling with the question – what happens to CEBA loan if business closes? Let’s dive into this situation, shedding light on this complex matter.

What is the CEBA Loan?

The Canada Emergency Business Account loan is a pivotal program introduced by the Canadian government, aimed at supporting small and medium-sized businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to aid them in covering their operating costs during a period of reduced revenues. A key feature of the CEBA loan is that if the balance of the loan is paid on or before the initial deadline, a loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $20,000) is available.

The qualification criteria for the CEBA loan are quite straightforward. Businesses must demonstrate that they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. For those with lower payroll expenses, proof of non-deferrable expenses ranging from $40,000 to $1.5 million was required. These expenses could include rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. By understanding the central tenets of the CEBA loan, businesses can better navigate their financial options during these challenging times.

CEBA Loan Repayment Terms

What Happens to CEBA Loan if Business Closes

To mitigate the prolonged financial impact caused by the pandemic, the Canadian government enhanced the CEBA loan program mid-way. In the initial phase of the program, small businesses could apply for a CEBA loan of up to $40,000. However, as COVID-19 continued to tighten its grip on the economy, the government made a strategic decision to increase the maximum loan amount.

The revised program allowed businesses to qualify for a CEBA loan of up to $60,000. For those businesses that had already availed the initial offer of $40,000, they were given the opportunity to apply for an additional $20,000. It is important to note that not all businesses were eligible for this extra funding, as it was contingent on meeting certain criteria. Nevertheless, more than 571,000 businesses did manage to receive this additional relief, underscoring the widespread need for financial support amidst the pandemic’s economic upheaval. This expansion of the CEBA loan program exemplifies the government’s commitment to bolstering businesses and the economy during these unprecedented times.

According to the CEBA loan agreement, the CEBA is an interest-free loan until December 31, 2023. This is a crucial detail for business owners facing the prospect of closure. What this essentially means is that you will not be charged any interest on the loan amount if you can manage to repay your loan by December 31, 2023. This window of interest-free repayment provides a buffer for businesses, even those facing closure, to strategize their financial approach and pay off their loan without the added burden of interest.

However, you have to note that any principal amount you haven’t repaid by the specified date will attract interest charges. The rate stands at 5%, which is not insignificant when dealing with loan amounts as high as $60,000. This is a significant consideration for businesses; even if closure seems imminent, a plan for CEBA loan repayment is paramount to avoid additional financial strain. In essence, the terms of the CEBA loan agreement provide some relief but also necessitate careful financial planning and foresight.

Now, if you find yourself still owing money on your CEBA loan as of January 1, 2024, the dynamics of your loan repayment change. From this point forward, you are obligated to make monthly interest payments, which will be calculated based on the outstanding balance. One important aspect to note is that you will no longer be eligible for any loan forgiveness.

The timeline for repaying the principal amount borrowed extends until December 31, 2025. You have the flexibility to repay the outstanding amount either in installments or as a lump sum, depending on your financial capability. Importantly, there are no penalties levied for any repayments made.

A key strategy to consider is accelerating your repayments to clear the principal before December 31, 2023. By doing so, you place yourself in a position to qualify for loan forgiveness.

Navigating this repayment process can be challenging, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your financial institution for assistance. Your lender can provide valuable insights and information to help you manage, pay down, or pay off your CEBA loan effectively. The goal should always be to minimize your outstanding debt, thereby reducing the financial burden on your business.

CEBA Loan Forgiveness

After understanding the CEBA loan repayment terms, you have to appreciate the unique feature that makes the CEBA loan a lifeline for many businesses – the potential for loan forgiveness. One of the significant benefits of the Canada Emergency Business Account is that if you manage to repay your outstanding principal by December 31, 2023, you could have up to a third of your loan forgiven.

To illustrate how this works, consider this: If you borrowed $40,000 or less, the government is willing to forgive 25% of your loan, provided you pay off the principal amount by December 31, 2023. For instance, if you borrowed $40,000, your responsibility would be to pay back $30,000 instead of the full $40,000 to qualify for this loan forgiveness.

Now let’s consider a scenario where you borrowed the revised maximum amount of $60,000. In this case, the government upholds the same 25% forgiveness on the first $40,000. However, for the additional $20,000, the government goes a step further, offering to forgive 50% of that, translating to up to $10,000. Therefore, if you borrowed $60,000 and manage to pay back $40,000 by the cut-off date (December 31, 2023), you get to keep $20,000.

Bear in mind, though, that while this forgiven amount is taxable, it is still a highly beneficial facet of the CEBA loan program. The Canadian government has created a safety net for businesses struggling in the wake of the pandemic, offering them a financial cushion that can make a significant difference as they navigate these challenging times. This feature underscores the government’s commitment to the welfare of the business community and is a factor that sets the CEBA loan apart from traditional loan structures.

What Happens to CEBA Loan if Business Closes?

CEBA Loan for closed Business

When a business closes, the fate of the CEBA loan becomes a pressing concern. The conditions of the loan are contingent on the operation of the business, and closure inevitably complicates matters. The Canadian government has set forth certain provisions addressing this situation.

In a scenario where you no longer operate your business, the CEBA loan repayment obligation still stands. While you may have taken the decision to sell or cease operations entirely, the loan amount you’ve borrowed must be paid back. The Canadian government’s stance on this is clear and unyielding; the loan recovery process proceeds irrespective of your business status.

However, an exception exists for corporations that have filed for bankruptcy. If your business was incorporated and you’ve sought legal bankruptcy protection, you are then absolved of your liability to repay the CEBA loan. This is because a corporation is considered a separate legal entity and any debts it accrues are its own.

But this leniency does not extend to all business structures. For instance, if your business was a sole proprietorship, or if you were in a partnership, the repayment obligation persists. This is due to the personal liability inherent in these business models, as there is no legal distinction between the business and the individual or partners. As such, any debts, including the CEBA loan, become the responsibility of the individual or partners to settle, even in the face of business closure.

In short, the nature of your business structure and the legal steps you’ve taken in the event of closure significantly impact your obligation towards repaying the CEBA loan. This further underscores the importance of mindful financial planning and legal considerations when availing such loans.


In conclusion, the CEBA loan is an excellent government program that provides businesses with a lifeline to ride out the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is important to understand how repayment terms could be affected if your business is unable to remain open and operational. With the right financial planning and legal guidance, you can ensure that you are well prepared to meet all repayment obligations and maximize the potential for loan forgiveness.

By taking such steps, you can ensure that your business benefits from its borrowing program while managing any fallouts responsibly. This will significantly aid in the smooth transition of your business as it continues to move forward in spite of the many challenges brought forth by the pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CEBA loan forgiveness feature?

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan offers a forgiveness feature where, if you repay your outstanding principal by December 31, 2023, you can have up to a third of your loan forgiven. This forgiveness applies to 25% of the first $40,000 borrowed and 50% on any additional amount up to $20,000. However, this forgiven amount is taxable.

What happens to the CEBA loan if my business closes?

If your business ceases to operate, the CEBA loan repayment obligation still stands. It must be paid back regardless of your business status, unless you’ve incorporated your business and have filed for bankruptcy, in which case you are absolved of the repayment obligation.

How can I qualify for CEBA loan forgiveness?

To qualify for CEBA loan forgiveness, you have to repay your outstanding principal by December 31, 2023. For instance, if you borrowed $40,000, your responsibility would be to pay back $30,000 instead of the full $40,000 to qualify for this loan forgiveness.

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