Unnamed persons requirements at the CRA

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What is an unnamed persons requirement

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a range of tools to ensure compliance with tax laws and to maintain the integrity of Canada’s self-assessment tax system. One of the tools the CRA uses to check for non-compliance is the unnamed persons requirement (UPR).

A federal court authorizes this type of requirement so the CRA can get information from an individual or business about third parties who are identified but, not explicitly named in the requirement. These third parties are called unnamed persons. After the CRA gets this information, it can verify if the unnamed person:

To proceed with a UPR, the CRA must submit documents to the Federal Court.

The Federal Court will authorize a UPR only if the CRA is able to satisfy the following requirements:

The CRA can get information from a business or individual about the unnamed persons only if the Federal Court determines there is enough justification to authorize the UPR.

The CRA can also act on behalf of other countries that have international legal exchange of information agreements, such as tax treaties, with Canada.

Recently, the CRA issued UPRs to detect non-compliance in the construction, crypto-assets, e-commerce, and real estate industries.

What kind of personal information can we request

Under subsections 231.2(2) and 231.2(3) of the Income Tax Act and subsections 289(2) and 289(3) of the Excise Tax Act the CRA can submit a request to the Federal Court to issue a UPR to a business or individual for information about unnamed persons. When issuing a UPR, the CRA seeks information it believes is necessary to determine whether the unnamed persons have met their tax obligations. For example, the CRA can ask a business, such as a big box store, to provide information about their clients. The requested information could include:

What happens when you’re part of a UPR

If the Federal Court authorizes the UPR, the business or individual must submit information to the CRA about their clients. The CRA will analyze information about the business or individual’s clients and checks the information received to the CRA’s internal systems for verification. The CRA will share the data across its various compliance programs to verify reporting, filing, withholding, registering, deducting, remitting, and payment compliance. If the CRA finds unnamed persons to be non-compliant with their obligations, they may be subject to penalties or legal action under the legislation the CRA administers.

If you were a client of a business that was issued a UPR, does it affect you

Clients of a business who complied with the legislation will not be subject to any more compliance actions. Compliance with the legislation means:

However, those who don’t meet their tax reporting obligations may be subject to further verification, collection actions, and potential criminal investigation. These actions could result in fines, penalties, and interest.

What are the differences between an audit and a UPR

A UPR is not the same as an audit. The information requested from a business in an audit generally pertains to a specific entity.

For a UPR, the requested information pertains to an identified group of the business’ clients. The CRA is unaware of the identities of the individuals and businesses included in this group of clients. The CRA would be aware only of the group identified in the request to the Federal Court.

For more information on tax audits, go to What you should know about audits.

How the CRA protects your information

Legislation, such as the Privacy Act and section 241 of the Income Tax Act, governs how information collected through the UPR process is managed. CRA policies and standard practices also protect the privacy of personal information.

The CRA takes the security and confidentiality of all taxpayer information seriously. We collect information when it is lawful and directly related to compliance activities.

Correct your tax affairs

If you did not report some of your income to the CRA or have not met your tax obligations, you may qualify for penalty relief through the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP). The CRA offers taxpayers the chance to come forward and correct or complete their information through this program.


Please note that the VDP does not apply if the CRA has:

  • issued an enforcement action, such as a UPR, to the taxpayer, or
  • received information about potential tax non compliance

To qualify for relief, the application must:

  • be voluntary
  • be complete
  • involve a penalty or, for GST/HST applications, a penalty or interest
  • include information that is at least one year past due for income tax applications and, for GST/HST applications, at least one reporting period past due
  • include payment of the estimated tax owing

Please note that applications may be subject to exceptions as listed under “Conditions of a Valid Application,” in Information Circular IC00‑1R6, Voluntary Disclosures Program Footnote 1. This information circular provides information on the discretionary authority of the Minister.

Report non-compliance

The CRA is committed to combatting tax evasion and tax avoidance at all levels. It does this in collaboration with international partners.

If you suspect that a business or an individual has not complied with their tax obligations, you can report a lead on tax cheating in Canada. The CRA reviews all information from the public to help identify taxpayers who are not complying with their tax obligations.

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