CST: 25/05/2016 07:58:51   

What to Expect When the Canada Revenue Agency Calls You

120 Days ago

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan 25, 2016) - It is possible that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will contact you by phone for legitimate tax reasons.

During such phone calls, the CRA officer must validate your identity and therefore will ask for certain personal information, including your date of birth, your address, and in the case of a business some account specific details.

The CRA officials will act with professionalism and will not be aggressive or make threats. To help you identify possible scams, use the following guidelines:

The CRA will not: The CRA may:
ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence validate your identity by asking for certain personal information, including your full name, date of birth, your address and, in the case of a business, details about your account
request personal information by email notify you by email when new mail is available for you to view in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client
email you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial details email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication in response to your telephone enquiry
send you a link to your refund by email or text message send you a notice of assessment or re-assessment by mail or notify you by email when it is available to view in My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client
setup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card request payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA's payment options
threaten with immediate arrest or prison sentence take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt

Before giving money or personal information:

  • verify the caller's authenticity
    • You can note the caller's name, phone number, and office location and tell them that you want to first validate their identity.
    • You can then verify that the employee works for the CRA or that the CRA did contact you by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.
  • verify your tax status and make sure your address and email are up to date
    • You can confirm this information with the CRA either online through the CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client, or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.

When in doubt, ask yourself:

  1. Did I file my tax return on time? Have I received a notice of assessment or re-assessment indicating a tax balance due?
  2. Have I received previous written communication from the CRA by email notification or mail about the subject of the call? Does the CRA have my most recent contact information, like my email and address?
  3. Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return or that is not related to my debt with the CRA?
  4. Did I recently submit a request to make changes to my business number information?
  5. Why is the caller pressuring me to act immediately? Am I confident the caller is a CRA employee?

CRA phone interactions generally come after written communications, such as an email notification to check your online mail or a letter, and are made under special circumstances. For example:

  • If you have a tax debt, a collections officer may call you to discuss your case and request a payment. In this case, you may need to provide some information about your household financial situation.
  • If youhave not filed your income tax and benefit return, a CRA officer may contact you by telephone to ask you for the missing returns.
  • If the CRA has questions about your tax and benefit records, or documents you have submitted, a CRA officer may contact you by phone for further discussion.

To report scams

To report deceptive telemarketing, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe that you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.

Stay connected

To receive updates when new information is added to our website, you can:

Follow the CRA on Twitter - @CanRevAgency.

Subscribe to a CRA electronic mailing list.

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You can also watch our tax-related videos on YouTube.

Philippe Brideau
Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency
613-941-6269