What to do if you can’t pay your taxes
May 18, 2021
Canada Revenue Agency
If you are struggling with your tax payments, you can work with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to find ways to pay your tax debt based on your financial situation. Let us help you.
We know these are still challenging times. If you can’t make any payment, your tax debt will grow with the addition of interest charges. Let’s work together to determine what your options are.
You have several payment options if you can’t pay your tax debt in full:
You can make partial payments to the CRA to reduce the amount of interest you need to pay on unpaid amounts. To see all the payment options or to make a partial payment, go to canada.ca/payments.
If you can’t afford to pay your taxes in one payment, you may be able to set up a payment arrangement with the CRA. A payment arrangement is an agreement between you and the CRA. It allows you to spread out your payments over time, based on your ability to pay, until you have paid your debt and interest in full. The CRA will work with you on a payment arrangement that works for your situation.
The CRA will continuously work with you to schedule payment arrangements, but can also apply credits or refunds towards outstanding debt to help with any outstanding amounts owing.
We have expanded the payment arrangement rules this year to give you more time and flexibility, based on your ability to pay.
Before calling the CRA, we encourage you to use these optional budget tools to help you determine what you can afford to pay on a regular basis:
- Income and expense worksheet
- Payment arrangement calculator
To make a payment arrangement, contact the CRA as soon as possible.
You can also make a payment arrangement by calling the CRA’s automated TeleArrangement service at 1-866-256-1147. When you call, you will need to provide:
- your social insurance number
- your date of birth and
- the amount on line 15000 of your last notice of assessment
The TeleArrangement service is available Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time.
You can also call the CRA's debt management call centre at 1-888-863-8657 to speak to an agent. Agents are available Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time.
Pay by pre-authorized debit
You can authorize the CRA to withdraw a certain amount directly from your bank account, on dates of your choosing, through one of the CRA’s following online services:
You can use these online tools to set up a pre-authorized debit agreement or to generate a QR code for paying at a Canada Post outlet.
Keep in mind it takes five business days from when you first set up a pre-authorized debit to when your funds will be processed. Also, you can’t cancel the debit agreement within the five days before it’s due. To use this service, you need to register for My Account, My Business Account or to MyCRA.
Unable to pay?
Communication is key. If you are unable to pay your tax debt in full immediately, you must tell the CRA as soon as possible so that we can work with you to determine a feasible payment arrangement. Interest compounds daily, at the rate set by law, until you pay the amount you owe in full. Go to When you owe money – collections at the CRA for more information.
Under the taxpayer relief provisions, the CRA may cancel or waive penalties or interest under certain conditions if you can’t meet your tax obligations.
Keep receipts and documents
You should keep all your receipts and documents for at least six years starting from the end of the last taxation year to which they relate.
Sometimes the CRA reviews returns to make sure that income, deductions, and credits are properly reported. If the CRA reviews your return, having your receipts and records on hand will make it easier for you to support your claims.
Canada Revenue Agency
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