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:
- ask you for information about your passport, health card or driver’s licence
- request personal information by email
- email you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial details
- send you a link to your refund by email or text message
- set up an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment
- demand immediate payment by a prepaid credit card
- threaten with immediate arrest or prison sentence
The CRA may:
- 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
- notify you by email when new mail is available for you to review in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client
- email you a link to a CRA webpage, form or publication in response to your telephone enquiry
- send you 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
- ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
- request payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA payment options
- take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt
When in doubt, ask yourself:
- Did I file my tax return on time? Have I received a notice of assessment or re-assessment indicating a tax balance due?
- 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 or address?
- Is the requestor asking for information I would not provide in my tax return or that is not related to my debt with the CRA?
- Did I recently submit a request to make changes to my business number information?
- 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 to discuss your case and request payment. In this case you may have to provide some information about your household financial situation
- If you have 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 benefits records, or documents you have submitted, a CRA office may contact you by phone for further discussion.
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 unwillingly, contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.