Now that you’ve filed your 2020 income tax and benefit return, it’s possible that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) contacts you to discuss your tax and benefit situation. However, you should be aware of scammers pretending to be CRA employees. They often contact Canadians to try to trick them into making payments, and may try to reach you by telephone. To protect yourself from scams, it’s important to know when and how the CRA might contact you.
Here is some information on how to tell if you’ve been contacted by the CRA, and what to do if you are:
CRA may review your tax return
One reason CRA may contact you is if the are reviewing your income tax and benefit return. You may receive a letter or phone call telling you your income tax and benefit return is being reviewed. If you’re registered for email notifications, they will send you an email telling you your letter is available in My Account. In most cases it’s simply a routine check. It’s important that you reply and send all of the information requested as soon as possible. This will help them review your file quickly and easily.
If you can’t get the documents we’re asking for or if you need more time to reply, it’s important that you call the number in your letter. CRA can give you more time to respond if you need it, and can help you if you have any questions. If you don’t reply, your claim may be disallowed and you could have a balance owing.
Make sure the caller is a CRA employee and not a scammer
Legitimate CRA employees who contact Canadians will identify themselves as CRA agents and provide their name and a telephone number. You should make sure the caller is a CRA employee before providing any information on the phone. This will protect you from giving money or personal information to a scammer.
This is how you can make sure the caller is from the CRA:
- Tell the caller you would like to first verify their identity
- Ask for, and make a note of their:
- phone number
- office location
- Check that the call you received was legitimate by contacting the CRA at the number that you look up yourself on the CRA website before you provide any information to the caller.
- Call the CRA employee back to discuss the reason for the call.
When to be suspicious
Red flags that suggest the person contacting you is a scammer include (but are not limited to):
- The inability to provide you with proof of working for the CRA, such as name and an office location.
- The caller is pressuring you to act now.
- The caller is asking you to pay with gift cards, cryptocurrency or some other unusual manner.
- The caller is asking for information you would not include on your tax return or that is not related to money you owe the CRA, such as a credit card number.
- The caller is recommending that you apply for benefits. Canadians can apply for benefits directly on Government of Canada websites or by phone. Do not provide information to callers offering to apply for benefits on your behalf!
For more tips and helpful information, visit canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention.
Want to report a potential scam?
To report a scam, visit 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.
Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of fraud or have been tricked into providing personal or financial information should report it by following the CRA’s directive on the Government of Canada website at canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention.
SOURCE Canada Revenue Agency