How tax returns are selected for review

There are a number of reasons why an income tax return may be selected in one of our review programs. These reasons include:

  • random selection;
  • comparison of information on returns to information received from third-party sources, such as T4 information slips;
  • types of deductions or credits claimed and an individual's review history.

Example

Were you selected for review in a previous year? If yes, was there an adjustment made to the claim that was reviewed?

The process of selecting returns for review is the same whether the return is filed on paper or electronically. Therefore, the chances of a return being selected for review are not impacted by the method used to file the return. We refine the focus of our reviews annually based on review results and problem areas identified.

Most income tax returns filed each year are processed within two to six weeks. The CRA processes most returns without conducting a manual review of the information reported so that a Notice of Assessment and/or refund can be issued as quickly as possible. However, all returns are screened by the Agency's computer system and may be subject to review at a later date.

As indicated in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide, you should keep all receipts and documents to support your claims for at least six years in case you are selected for review. For more information, see the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide and Information Circular IC78-10, Books and Records Retention/Destruction.

For tips on what you should do if you receive a request for information from CRA, see Responding to us.

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