Understanding a requirement to pay

When the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been unable to collect the tax debt or make a suitable payment arrangement with the taxpayer or believes that a third party owes (or will owe money) to a taxpayer, they will issue a requirement to pay (RTP) or an enhanced requirement to pay (ERTP) to the third party.

The RTP gives the CRA priority over most other creditors. However, a secured creditor with an interest on assets may have a higher priority over the CRA

An ERTP is a different type of requirement which gives the CRA priority over the interests of secured creditors. ERTPs are used to collect source (payroll) deductions, GST/HST, or Air Travellers Security charges that a taxpayer has failed to pay.

For the purposes of this webpage only, an RTP should be understood to include an ERTP.

Requirements to pay apply to many different types of payments a third party could make to a taxpayer, including but not limited to:

An RTP is a legal document. You are obligated to comply with it. If you do not comply, you become liable for the amount you did not pay the CRA. The CRA will take action to collect that amount from you.

The CRA sends out an RTP without a court order, but in most cases through its authority under section 224 of the Income Tax Act or section 317 of the Excise Tax Act.

If you send an amount to the CRA because you received an RTP, the taxpayer cannot pursue you financially. The amount you owe the taxpayer is reduced by the amount you send to the CRA. You may advise the taxpayer if you wish, however the CRA sends a copy of the RTP to the taxpayer.

Do not sell any assets such as houses, cars, jewellery, stocks, or bonds unless you have instructions to do so from the taxpayer or another person who has the authority to give instructions. The RTP applies to the sale proceeds if the assets (such as the taxpayer’s house) are sold and converted into cash while the RTP is in effect.

Notice to the reader

If you have received an RTP and need help or more information, please call the CRA contact person at the telephone number listed on the upper right-hand corner of the RTP. If you cannot reach that person, call 1-800-675-6184.

What to do if you have received an RTP

If you have miscalculated your payments and paid more than you were required to pay, contact the CRA at the number on the RTP.

If you sent a payment and then received the withdrawl of the requirement to pay, contact the CRA at the number on the RTP.

Calculate the amount you must pay to the CRA

The first page of the RTP will show the maximum amount that you have to withhold from the taxpayer and send to the CRA. Send this amount to the CRA for each payment that you owe to the taxpayer unless the RTP instructs you to withhold:

Continue to withhold and send these amounts to the CRA during the effective period of the RTP, or until the total you have sent equals the maximum amount on the RTP.

In some cases, the RTP will also instruct you to send all amounts upon termination of employment.

How to pay

Mail your payment to the CRA by following these steps:

Validity period

Look at the terms on the first page of the notice to determine the effective period.

In general, RTPs may be valid for:

Keep a copy of the RTP for the entire period it is in effect and for at least 1 year after receiving it, as you may owe amounts to the taxpayer in the future.

Your obligations end when:

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