Scammers posing as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees continue to contact Canadians, misleading them into paying false debt. These persistent scammers have created fear among people who now automatically assume that any communication from someone representing the CRA is not genuine.
This tax tip will remind Canadians that the CRA does indeed contact taxpayers by phone, email and mail for legitimate reasons. The following tips will help Canadians identify legitimate communications from the CRA.
Before giving money or personal information over the phone
Make sure the caller is a CRA employee
- Ask for, or make a note of, the caller’s name, phone number, and office location and tell them that you want to first verify their identity.
- You can then check that the employee calling you about your taxes works for the CRA or that the CRA did contact you by calling 1‑800‑959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses. If the call you received was about a government program such as Student Loans or Employment Insurance, call 1-866-864-5823.
To protect yourself from scams, verify your tax status and make sure the CRA has your current address and email
- Confirm your tax status through one of the CRA’s secure portals, My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client, or through the MyCRA and MyBenefits CRA mobile web apps
- You can also call the CRA’s Individual Tax Account Balance Automated Service at 1-866-474-8272. This automated phone service provides information about your tax account balance, as well as your last payment amount and date. To use this service, be ready to give your social insurance number, date of birth and the total income you entered on line 150 of your 2017 or 2016 tax return.
- Call 1-866-864-5823 to update your address or contact information for government programs that you owe money to, such as student loans or employment insurance.
When in doubt, ask yourself
- Why is the caller pressuring me to act immediately? Am I certain the caller is a CRA employee?
- Did I file my tax return on time? Have I received a notice of assessment or reassessment saying I owe tax?
- Have I received written communication from the CRA by email or mail about the subject of the call?
- Does the CRA have my most recent contact information, such as my email and address?
- Is the caller asking for information I would not give in my tax return or that is not related to the money I owe the CRA?
- Did I recently send a request to change my business number information?
- Do I have an instalment payment due soon?
- Have I received a statement of account about a government program I owe money to, such as employment insurance or Canada Student Loans?
Some of the reasons the CRA may call
They wrote to you previously or any of the following situations apply:
- you owe tax or money to a government program. A collections officer may call you to discuss your file and ask you to make a payment. In this case, you may need to provide some information about your household financial situation.
- you did not file your income tax and benefit return. A CRA officer may call you to ask you for the missing returns.
- the CRA has questions about the tax and benefit records or documents you sent. A CRA officer may call you for more information.
- you are a small business and the CRA is offering a Liaison Officer visit.
More information on tax scams and fraud can be found at canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention.
To report scams
To report scams, go to antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501. If you think you may be the victim of fraud or you unknowingly provided personal or financial information, contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.
- Follow the CRA on Facebook.
- Follow the CRA on Twitter – @CanRevAgency.
- Follow the CRA on LinkedIn.
- Subscribe to a CRA electronic mailing list.
- Add our RSS feeds to your feed reader.
- Watch our tax-related videos on YouTube.
SOURCE Canada Revenue Agency