What to expect when the Canada Revenue Agency calls you

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: The CRA may:
  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence
  • 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
  • request personal information by email
  • notify you by email when new mail is available for you to view in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client
  • email you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication in response to your telephone enquiry
  • send you a link to your refund by email or text message
  • send you a 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
  • setup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment
  • ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
  • demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card
  • request payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA’s payment options
  • threaten with immediate arrest or prison sentence
  • take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt

Before giving money or personal information:

When in doubt, ask yourself

  1. Did I file my tax return on time? Have I received a notice of assessment or re-assessment indicating a tax balance due?
  2. 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 and address?
  3. Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return or that is not related to my debt with the CRA?
  4. Did I recently submit a request to make changes to my business number information?
  5. 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:

To report scams

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 unwittingly, contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.

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