Canada Revenue Agency’s Tips to Identify Legitimate Contact by CRA over Phone

imageCanada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released guidelines on what to expect when CRA employees contact you.

Many Canadians are being conned by scammers posing as CRA employees. As phone scams are increasing day by day, CRA wants to remind you that CRA do contact people and that you should not automatically assume that any communication from someone representing the CRA is not genuine.

CRA does indeed contact taxpayers by phone, email and mail for legitimate reasons.

The CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers under any circumstance. If a taxpayer receives text or instant messages claiming to be from the CRA, they are scams!

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.

Tips to identify legitimate communications from the CRA

1. CRA CONTACTING YOU BY PHONE

WHAT CRA MAY DO

  • verify your identity by asking for personal information such as your full name, date of birth, address and account, or social insurance number.
  • ask for details about your account, in the case of a business enquiry
  • call you to begin an audit process

The CRA will never

  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police
  • leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information

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2. CRA CONTACTING YOU BY EMAIL

The CRA may

  • notify you by email when a new message or a document, such as a notice of assessment or reassessment, is available for you to view in secure CRA portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client
  • email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication that you ask for during a telephone call or a meeting with an agent (this is the only case where the CRA will send an email containing links)

3. The CRA will never

  • give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link
  • email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • send you an email with a link to your refund
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence

3. CRA CONTACTING YOU BY MAIL (POST)

The CRA may

  • ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
  • send you a notice of assessment or reassessment
  • ask you to pay an amount you owe through any of the CRA’s payment options
  • take legal action to recover the money you owe, if you refuse to pay your debt
  • write to you to begin an audit process

The CRA will never

  • set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence

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 is available here — canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention.

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  • One Comment

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    1. Accufile

      Well written. Thanks for the information.

      December 29, 2019 at 10:37 PM

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