Webinar for seniors: Doing your taxes has its benefits!
Slide 1 (Title Slide)
Tim: Hi! My name is Tim, and I’m an Outreach Officer at the Canada Revenue Agency. I’m very happy to be here today to talk to you about benefit and credit payments you could be eligible for, and other services available to you.
During this webinar, I will also present information about scams, and I will also read and respond to some of the questions we receive.
Slide 2 (Outline)
Tim: I will start the presentation by explaining why it’s important to do your taxes on time. I will then tell you about the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, also known as the GST/HST credit.
We will go on to cover some common tax credits and deductions for seniors, and some of the services we offer. I’ll also share some information to give you an idea of when you should reach out to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Next, I will cover some of the COVID-19 recovery measures. And last but not least, I will tell you how to protect yourself against scams.
Let’s get started!
Slide 3 (Doing your taxes on time)
Tim: You may only know of the Canada Revenue Agency as the taxman, but we are much more than that! The Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA for short, administers federal benefits and credits, and most provincial and territorial payments. This means that we play a big role in putting money in your pockets.
The CRA calculates many of these benefits and credits based on your income. This is why it’s so important that you do your taxes on time, every year, even if you didn’t have any income for the year. The deadline to do your taxes is generally on April 30.
By doing your taxes on time, the CRA and other government departments will be able to calculate your payments and send them to you without delays. This means payments like your GST/HST credit won’t be interrupted and you’ll continue to receive them as a steady source of income.
As I just mentioned, other government departments may also use the information from your tax return to calculate your payments. For example, the CRA shares your information with Service Canada so they can calculate your old age security benefits. These benefits include the guaranteed income supplement, also known as the GIS, and the allowance for people aged 60 to 64, and the allowance for the survivor. To continue to get these payments next July, you must file your taxes before this year’s deadline.
Slide 4 (File my Return)
Tim: Next, I want to touch on a service we have to make it easier for you to do your taxes. It’s called File my Return. This service lets some people do their taxes over the phone. All you have to do is confirm some personal information and answer a few short questions. The service is free, secure, and easy. There are no forms to fill out or calculations to do!
You will get a letter from the CRA in mid-February if you’re eligible for the service. To be eligible you have to have a low or a fixed income and your tax situation must stay the same year to year.
The letter will give you all the information you need to use this service. Once you are ready, you can call the File my Return phone number and follow the prompts during the call. It’s as simple as that!
If you live Québec, the service only files the federal income tax and benefit return. You will need to do your provincial tax return separately.
Slide 5 (Community Volunteer Income Tax Program)
Tim: If you are not eligible for File my Return, you may be eligible for other types of help, such as the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program or the CVITP.
The CRA has been working with community organizations and their volunteers for 50 years to do taxes, for free!
You are eligible if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
Generally, you have a modest income if you make less than $35,000 (for a single person). Your tax situation is simple if you don’t have a small business or income from a rental property.
Tax clinics are all year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April.
In the province of Quebec, the CRA offers the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program in partnership with Revenu Québec. Volunteers from this program do both federal and provincial taxes for those eligible.
For more information and to find a tax clinic, go to the web address shown on your screen.
Slide 6 (Volunteer!)
Tim: The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program I just mentioned is always looking for volunteers!
It’s a great opportunity to help people in your community.
During the 2021 tax season, you can volunteer at a virtual tax clinic and help people file their taxes by videoconference, by phone, or through a document drop-off arrangement.
It helps to have a basic understanding of taxes and be comfortable using videoconference platforms, but you’ll also receive training, guidance, and tax software.
As a volunteer, you’ll be helping people in your community get the benefits and credits they’re entitled to. This is money they need for every day expenses like housing, childcare, and food.
Register online at the address on your screen to become a volunteer for this program. You have to volunteer with a community organization – if you need help finding one, a CRA coordinator can help match you up.
Slide 7 (Benefit and credit payments)
Tim: Next, we’ll talk about how doing your taxes has its benefits! You could be eligible for benefit and credit payments when you do your taxes. The most common one for seniors is the GST/HST credit.
Slide 8 (GST/HST credit)
Tim: Life is expensive! Fortunately, people with low or modest incomes can get GST/HST credit payments to offset some of the GST or HST that they pay.
Depending on your family net income, you could get up $451 if you are single and up to $592 if you are married or common-law.
The GST/HST credit will increase in July 2021 to keep up with the increased cost of living.
You don’t have to apply to get the GST/HST credit. When you do your taxes, the CRA will automatically determine your eligibility.
If you are eligible, you will get payments four times a year, around the 5th day of July, October, January, and April. You could also get related provincial or territorial payments.
Don’t forget: if you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to do their taxes so that the CRA can calculate your household payments.
Slide 9 (Canada child benefit)
Tim: If you have a grandchild living with you, and you’re responsible for their daily activities and needs, you may be eligible for the Canada child benefit, or CCB for short.
The CCB is a tax-free monthly payment that helps with the cost of raising children. Depending on the age of the child and your family net income, you can get up to $6,765 per child under the age of 6, and up to $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17, each year.
The CCB is paid to the primary caregiver of a child who is under the age of 18.
If you’ve been primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child for all or part of the last 10 years but have never received a CCB payment, you may even be able to get back-payments by applying for the benefit and doing your taxes for those years.
The CCB payment will increase in July 2021 to keep up with the increased cost of living.
To get the CCB, you have to be a resident of Canada for tax purposes. You or your spouse or common-law partner also have to be:
- a Canadian citizen,
- a permanent resident,
- an Indigenous person who meets the definition of "Indian" under the Indian Act,
- a protected person,
- or a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for 18 continuous months prior to applying and continue to hold a valid permit.
Applying for the CCB will also register the child for the GST/HST credit and for most related provincial or territorial child benefit and credit payments.
If you live in Quebec, there is additional assistance to help with the cost of raising a family. However, you will need to apply separately through Retraite Québec to get these provincial child assistance payments.
Slide 10 (Do you have any questions?)
Tim: Let’s take a short break now to answer some of the questions we’ve received.
Question: For a few years, I was getting a GST/HST cheque, but all of a sudden I stopped getting it. Why?
Answer: There could be many reasons. First, did you forget to do our taxes for the year before? We need your tax information to calculate your payments. It could also be that your income has increased and you are no longer entitled to GST/HST credit payments.
If your income did not change and you did your taxes for the year before, then it is possible that the CRA doesn’t have your correct mailing address or direct deposit information, or is missing information from you. If you think you should be getting GST/HST credit payments but are not, call the CRA at 1-800-387-1193.
Question: Why is my wife getting the GST/HST credit, but I’m not?
Answer: Lucky her! That’s because only one person in the couple can get the credit, for both of you. The credit is paid to the spouse or common-law partner whose tax return is assessed first by the CRA. The amount is calculated based on your family net income, so no matter which one of you receives the credit, the amount is the same.
Let’s move on to our next topic: Tax credits!
I hope you had your coffee this morning so you can stay alert while I talk to you about this important topic – it might save you some money!
Slide 11 (Tax credits)
Tim: Tax credits are amounts you can claim on your tax return to reduce the income tax you may have to pay. They may even reduce your tax bill to zero! Let’s take a closer look.
Slide 12 (Age amount)
Tim: You can claim the age amount of up to $7,637 on your return if you were 65 years of age or older at the end of the year and you meet certain conditions.
You may also be eligible to claim the corresponding provincial or territorial tax credit on your provincial or territorial Form 428.
Slide 13 (Pension income amount)
Tim: Are you receiving a pension? You may be able to claim up to $2,000 on your return if you receive eligible pension, superannuation, or annuity payments.
A superannuation is an organizational pension program. An annuity is a plan that makes payments to you on a regular basis. It might be a general annuity, or a payment from a registered retirement income fund.
A list of eligible pension and annuity income is available on our website. The link is included in the document you can download, just below the presentation on your screen.
Slide 14 (Medical expenses)
Tim: Medical bills add up! Claiming medical expenses on your tax return can help you get some of that money back.
These expenses include a wide range of products, procedures, and services, such as medical supplies, dental care, and travel expenses.
You can claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for yourselves and your children aged 18 years or under.
You can also claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for certain family members who depended on you for support and were residents of Canada at any time in the year.
It’s important to know that you can claim only the part of an eligible expense you have not been or will not be reimbursed for. So if you have insurance and it covered a portion of the cost, you cannot claim that portion.
To know for whom you can claim medical expenses and for more information, read Guide RC4065, called Medical Expenses, or go to the web address shown on your screen.
Slide 15 (Canada caregiver credit)
Tim: Do you support your spouse, common-law partner, or another dependent over 18, with their physical or mental impairment? If so, you could claim the Canada caregiver credit.
You may be able to claim $2,273 in the calculation of the spouse or common-law partner amount, and up to $7,276 for the Canada caregiver amount for spouse or common-law partner, or eligible dependant age 18 or older on your tax return.
You may also be able to claim this credit for certain family members who depended on you for support and were residents of Canada at any time in the year. An individual is considered to depend on you for support if they rely on you to regularly and consistently provide them with some of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing.
For more information and to find out who you can claim this credit for, go to the address shown on your screen.
Slide 16 (Disability tax credit)
Tim: The disability tax credit, also called the DTC, is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or family members who support them reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
If you’re eligible for this credit, you can claim the disability amount of up to $8,576 on your federal tax return. You may also claim the disability amount to reduce your provincial or territorial taxes owing.
Slide 17 (Are you eligible for the DTC?)
Tim: To be eligible, you must be blind, markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living, significantly restricted in two or more of the basic activities of daily living, or need life-sustaining therapy.
Slide 18 (Basic activities of daily living)
Tim: The basic activities of daily living are speaking, hearing, walking, eliminating (bowel and bladder functions), feeding, dressing, and mental functions necessary for everyday life.
Slide 19 (In addition…)
Tim: Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months and it must be present all or substantially all of the time, which means at least 90% of the time.
You can find more information on the disability tax credit in the Guide RC4064, Disability-Related Information and at the web address on the screen.
Slide 20 (Applying for the DTC)
Tim: To apply, you will need to get Form T2201, called the Disability Tax Credit Certificate, from the CRA website or by calling the CRA.
First, fill out Part A with your personal information. Then, bring the form to your medical practitioner so they can fill out Part B of the form, describing the effects of your impairment. After the form is filled out and signed, send it to the CRA by mail or electronically using Submit Documents in the CRA’s My Account online service.
Medical doctors and nurse practitioners can certify all sections in Part B of your T2201 form. The following medical practitioners can only certify certain sections as follows:
- an optometrist can certify the vision section,
- an audiologist can certify the hearing section,
- an occupational therapist can certify the walking, feeding, dressing sections as well as the cumulative effects for these activities,
- a physiotherapist can certify the walking section,
- a psychologist can certify the section on the performance of mental functions necessary for everyday life, and
- a speech-language pathologist can certify the speaking section.
It’s very important to know that the eligibility for this credit is based on the information provided by the medical practitioner, describing the effects that the impairment. Eligibility for the DTC is based on the effects of the impairment, not the medical condition itself.
If you were eligible for the disability tax credit for previous years, but did not claim the disability amount, you can request adjustments to your tax returns for up to 10 years. If the CRA determines that you are not eligible and you have more information from a medical practitioner that the CRA did not have in the first review of your application, send the information to the CRA. The CRA will review your file again using the new information.
Slide 21 (Home accessibility tax credit)
Tim: Did you know that you can claim expenses for renovations you did to make your home more accessible?
You may be able to claim this tax credit if you own a home in Canada and paid for eligible renovations to improve the safety or accessibility of your home. You can claim up to $10,000 per year in eligible expenses. This could result in a tax credit of up to $1,500.
You may be eligible for this credit if you’re 65 or older, or if you’re eligible for the disability tax credit.
You may also claim this credit on your tax return for a dependant, if certain criteria are met.
The renovations must be for the main residence of the eligible person. Also, the renovations must be a permanent part of the home and:
- allow the person to gain access to the home or
- be mobile or functional within the home,
- or reduce the risk of harm within the home or in accessing the home.
More information is available on our website or in Guide RC4064, called Disability-Related Information.
Slide 22 (Amount transferred to or from your spouse)
Tim: When claiming tax credits on your income tax return, you may not need to claim all of your tax credits to reduce your federal tax to zero.
But don’t let them go to waste!
You may be able to transfer your unused amounts to your spouse or common-law partner to reduce their federal tax.
Some of the credits that can be transferred include the age amount, the pension income amount, and the disability amount for self.
For more information, see the document below the presentation on your screen. It will provide you all the links you’ll need.
Slide 23 (Pension income splitting)
Tim: There are other ways you can help lower your tax bill. For example, you may be able to split your pension income with your spouse or common-law partner if you meet certain requirements. You can transfer up to half of your eligible pension income to your spouse or common-law partner, regardless of their age.
If you split your pension income with your spouse or common-law partner, you have to deduct the amount that you are transferring to them on your tax return. Your spouse or common-law partner has to report this amount on their tax return.
To split eligible pension income, you and your spouse or common-law partner must fill out Form T1032, called Joint Election to Split Pension Income. You have to fill this out for every year you want to split pension income.
The transferring spouse or common-law partner will be able to claim whichever amount is less:
- or the amount of your eligible pension income, after excluding amounts allocated to the receiving spouse or common-law partner
The receiving spouse or common-law partner will be able to claim whichever amount is less:
- or the amount of their pension income that is eligible for the pension income amount, including the allocated pension income that is eligible for the pension income amount
Keep in mind that you cannot split your income from the Canada Pension Plan, Québec Pension Plan, or old age security.
For more information on pension income splitting, go to the address shown on your screen. From there, you can also get Form T1032.
Slide 24 (Do you have any questions?)
Tim: We received a couple more questions that we’d like to share with you.
Question: You said that a supporting family member can claim the disability tax credit. What is a supporting family member? Do they have to live with the disabled person?
Answer: A supporting family member is someone, other than the spouse or common-law partner, who provides the person with the disability with one or more of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, or clothing, on a regular and consistent basis. The supporting family member does not have to live with the person with a disability.
Question: If I split my pension income with my wife, will our benefits and credits be affected?
Answer: Pension splitting will affect any credits and benefits that are calculated using one taxpayer’s net income, such as the age amount, the spouse or common-law partner amount, and the repayment of old age security benefits. It may also affect certain federal and provincial or territorial programs. For more information, go to the webpage called “Pension income splitting.” The link is in the document you can download just below the presentation on your screen.
Question: If the CRA contacts me by phone, what kind of information will I be required to give in order to confirm my identity?
Answer: If the CRA calls you, they will validate your identity by asking certain personal information, including your full name, date of birth, and your address. The CRA will not ask for your driver’s license, health card, or information about your passport. But we will tell you all about scams in a few minutes, so stay tuned!
And now I’ll continue with the next part of our webinar.
Slide 25 (Contact us when there is a change to your)
Tim: You should always let the CRA know when your personal information changes. Keeping your information up to date will ensure that you keep receiving your benefit and credit payments and important correspondence from the CRA.
You have to contact the CRA:
- if there are changes to your address, marital status changes, or you or your spouse or common-law partner's residency status,
- if you want to start or stop direct deposit, or
- if your spouse or common-law partner dies.
You should also contact the CRA if you receive a notice from the CRA and information on it is outdated or wrong.
To update your information, you can call the CRA at 1-800-387-1193. You can also update some information online using My Account.
My Account is the CRA’s secure online web portal. I will tell you more about it shortly.
Slide 26 (What to do following a death)
Tim: One difficult question that people often ask is “What will happen to my tax and benefit affairs after I die?” You may wonder about that too, or you may wonder what you will need to do if your spouse or common-law partner passes away.
The family or the legal representative will settle the tax and benefit affairs of the deceased person. They should provide the CRA with the deceased’s date of death as soon as possible.
They can let the CRA know by calling 1-800-959-8281, or by sending the form titled “Request for the Canada Revenue Agency to update records,” to the CRA.
This form is available on the last page of Information Sheet RC4111, called What to do following a death. Service Canada should also be advised of the deceased’s date of death. The number to reach Service Canada is included in the list that you can download by clicking on the link below the presentation.
If the deceased was receiving the GST/HST credit, Canada workers benefit advance payments, or any other payments from the CRA, arrangements must be made to stop the payments and transfer them to a survivor.
Payments may still be sent out after the date of death if the CRA is not aware of the death early enough to stop the payments. If this happens, the legal representative must return the payment to the tax centre that serves their area.
If the deceased person had a spouse or common-law partner, that person may be eligible to receive the GST/HST credit if they filed an income tax and benefit return. The GST/HST credit payments will be based on his or her net income alone.
If the deceased person was paying tax by instalments, no further instalment payments have to be made after their death. The only instalments that have to be paid are those that were due before the date of death, but not paid.
Also, the legal representative will have to:
- file all required tax returns for the deceased,
- make sure all taxes owing are paid,
- let the beneficiaries know which of the amounts they receive from the estate are taxable, and
- obtain a clearance certificate to certify that all amounts owing to the CRA are paid.
More information is available on Information Sheet RC4111. The link to this publication is included in the list that you can download by clicking on the link below the presentation.
Slide 27 (Services and tools)
Tim: On a lighter note, let’s now look at some of the other services and tools that CRA has to help you do your taxes and claim your benefits.
Slide 28 (My Account)
Tim: As I mentioned earlier, the CRA has an online service called My Account.
With My Account you can:
- track your refund,
- view or change your return,
- check your benefit and credit payments,
- set up direct deposit,
- change your personal information,
- submit your DTC application,
- and so much more!
It’s available all the time so you can update your account or check your information when it’s convenient for you.
Slide 29 (Authorize a representative)
Tim: The CRA needs your authorization to deal with another person, such as your spouse or common-law partner, another family member, a friend, or an accountant, who may act as your representative for income tax and benefit matters.
Authorization helps to make sure your tax information stays confidential. This is something we take that very seriously.
You don't need to authorize a representative if they're only doing your taxes.
You can give permission to another person to deal with the CRA for you online in My Account, or on paper by filling out Form AUT-01, Authorize a Representative for Offline Access, and sending it to the CRA.
If you want to cancel an authorization, you can do it in My Account, by phone, or use paper Form AUT-01X, Cancel Authorization for a Representative.
Your representative can also submit an authorization request using the Represent a Client secure portal, or by using certified commercial EFILE software.
Slide 30 (Direct deposit)
Tim: Direct deposit is convenient, reliable, and secure.
And, the CRA can deposit your refund, as well as your benefit and credit payments, into your account at a financial institution in Canada.
You’ll get faster access to your money, your payments will always be on time, and there is no risk of your cheque being lost, stolen, or damaged.
To sign up for direct deposit, you will need your social insurance number, the name of your financial institution, your branch and transit numbers, and your account number.
Your banking information is at the bottom of any cheque for the account where you would like your payments deposited. If you don’t have a chequing account, you can ask your financial institution for this information.
You can sign up for direct deposit online in My Account, by phone at 1-800-959-8281, or by mail by sending the Canada Direct Deposit enrolment form to the CRA.
For more information or to get the Canada Direct Deposit Enrolment Form, go to the web address on your screen.
Slide 31 (Are you missing some payments?)
Tim: There are many reasons Canadians may have an uncashed cheque from the CRA. For example, someone may have moved and not updated their address, or the cheque may have been lost, stolen, or destroyed.
Individuals and their legal representatives can now view their uncashed cheques in My Account and, if necessary, ask for a duplicate payment.
CRA cheques never expire or become stale-dated. You can cash your CRA cheque for free at any financial institution in Canada.
Never miss another payment – sign up for direct deposit to have your payments deposited quickly and directly into your account. Also, make sure to keep your address up to date.
To see if you have an uncashed CRA cheque:
Sign into or register for My Account. If you are registering for My Account, you will need to enter your CRA security code to access the uncashed cheques feature.
Select “Uncashed Cheques” under “Related Services.”
If you have an uncashed cheque, ask for a duplicate payment by selecting and completing the displayed form. Then, send the form using the submit documents online feature in My Account or mail the form to the Sudbury Tax Centre.
Slide 32 (COVID-19 measures)
Tim: The government has announced some recent measure to support Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ll now discuss some of these measures starting with the special increases to the GST/HST credit and the Canada child benefit.
Then, I will talk about the changes to the Employment Insurance program and new recovery benefits that will support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slide 33 (COVID-19 one-time payments)
Tim: A special one-time GST/HST credit payment was issued on April 9, 2020. This amount was calculated based on your 2018 tax return.
If you were previously not entitled to the GST/HST credit, but have filed your 2018 tax return, you may also get the one-time credit amount based on your family net income.
The maximum amounts you can receive for the 2019-2020 benefit year, depending on your family net income and your status, could increase from:
- $443 to $886 if you’re single
- $580 to $1,160 if you’re married or living common-law
Individuals who received the Canada child benefit in April 2020, received $300 more per child in their May 2020 instalment.
You will get the payment increase if:
- you had an eligible child in your care in May 2020
- you and your spouse/common-law partner (if applicable) have filed your 2018 tax return(s)
For both of these payments, if you didn't file your 2018 taxes, you won't receive this payment.
If you're late in filing your 2018 taxes, you should file as soon as possible because you may be eligible for retroactive benefits and credits.
Slide 34 (New COVID-19 measures, fall 2020)
Tim: In order to continue helping Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has created three new benefits:
- the Canada Recovery Benefit,
- the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and
- the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
All three of these benefits are administered by the CRA.
I will describe who is eligible for these benefits on the next few slides and you can find more information by visiting canada.ca/cra-coronavirus.
You can apply for these benefits online through My Account or by using an automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
If you sign up for direct deposit, you should receive your payment within 3 to 5 days. Otherwise, you will receive a cheque by mail within 10 to 12 business days.
Slide 35 (Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB))
Tim: The Canada Recovery Benefit, known as the CRB gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance benefits.
If you’re eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 (before taxes are withheld) for a 2-week period.
If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Slide 36 (Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB))
Tim: The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, also called the CRSB, gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
If you’re eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 (before taxes are withheld) for a 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Slide 37 (Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB))
Tim: The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, known as the CRCB, gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.
This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.
If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 (before taxes are withheld) for each 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Slide 38 (Don’t get scammed!)
Tim: The pandemic has led to new scam opportunities as fraudsters try to take advantage of people applying for COVID-related benefits. So, now let’s talk about scams and how to protect yourself.
There are many types of fraud out there, and new scams are constantly being invented. You should be vigilant when you receive a call, a letter, an email or a message that claims to be from the CRA and asks you for personal information such as your social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.
These scams may insist that this information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment.
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service.
Slide 39 (Over the phone, the CRA will never)
Tim: The CRA may call you for several reasons, but if you’re not sure if it’s really the CRA, here are some things to keep in mind.
The CRA will never:
- use aggressive language
- threaten to arrest you or send the police
- ask for immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards such as iTunes and Amazon
- ask for information about your passport, driver’s licence, or health card, or
- leave personal or financial information on your voicemail.
It’s important to also be aware that scammers can even fake their caller ID.
Before giving money or personal information over the phone, 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 verify their identity.
You can then check that the employee calling about your taxes works for the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281.
Slide 40 (By email, the CRA will never)
Tim: Emails from the CRA never:
- give or ask for personal or financial information,
- collect or issue payments through Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards, and
- ask to click on a link to obtain a refund.
The only time the CRA will send an email that contains a link to a CRA webpage is if a taxpayer calls the CRA to ask for a form, CRA webpage, or publication. If this is the case, the CRA agent will send the information to the taxpayer’s email during the telephone call.
Remember, the CRA will never use text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with you.
If you receive a text or instant message claiming to be from the CRA, it’s a scam!
Slide 41 (By mail, the CRA will never)
Tim: 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, or others, or
- threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence.
However, 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,
- take legal action to recover the money you owe, or
- write to you to begin an audit process.
Slide 42 (Check your account balance)
Tim: When in doubt, ask yourself:
- Is there a reason the CRA is contacting me?
- Do I have an outstanding tax balance?
- Am I expecting more money from the CRA?
If you’re registered for My Account, you can verify your CRA account balance at the web address on your screen.
If you’re not registered for My Account, you can call the CRA's Individual Tax Account Balance Automated Service.
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 2018 tax return, or line 15000 of your 2019 tax return.
Slide 43 (Accepted payment methods)
Tim: The CRA will never accept payment by prepaid card of any kind, and will never collect or distribute payments through Interac e-transfer or bitcoin ATMs. Any of those requests are a scam!
The accepted methods of payment are online banking, debit card, pre-authorized debit, and credit card or PayPal through a third-party service provider.
Slide 44 (Thank you for joining us today!)
Tim: This is the end of the webinar. Thank you so much for joining me today! I hope it was helpful!
Thank you, and have a great day!
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