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What to Expect When the Canada Revenue Agency Calls You

/ -- OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/25/16 -- 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      validate your identity by asking
passport, health card, or driver's  for certain personal information,
licence                             including your full name, date of
                                    birth, your address and, in the
                                    case of a business, details about
                                    your account
request personal information by     notify you by email when new mail
email                               is available for you to view in CRA
                                    secure portals such as My Account,
                                    My Business Account or Represent a
email you a link requesting you     email you a link to a CRA webpage,
fill in an online form with         form, or publication in response to
personal or financial details       your telephone enquiry
send you a link to your refund by   send you a notice of assessment or
email or text message               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     ask for financial information such
public place to take a payment      as the name of your bank and its
demand immediate payment by prepaid request payment for a tax debt
credit card                         through any of the CRA's payment
threaten with immediate arrest or   take legal action to recover the
prison sentence                     money you owe if you refuse to pay
                                    your debt

Before giving money or personal information:

--  verify the caller's authenticity
    --  You can note the caller's name, phone number, and office location
        and tell them that you want to first validate their identity.
    --  You can then verify that the employee works for the CRA or that the
        CRA did contact you by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for
        individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.
--  verify your tax status and make sure your address and email are up to
    --  You can confirm this information with the CRA either online through
        the CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or
        Represent a Client, or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for
        individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.

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
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:

--  If you have a tax debt, a collections officer may call you to discuss
    your case and request a payment. In this case, you may need to provide
    some information about your household financial situation.
--  If you have not filed your income tax and benefit return, a CRA officer
    may contact you by telephone to ask you for the missing returns.
--  If the CRA has questions about your tax and benefit records, or
    documents you have submitted, a CRA officer may contact you by phone for
    further discussion.

To report scams

To report deceptive telemarketing, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at 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.

Stay connected

To receive updates when new information is added to our website, you can:

Follow the CRA on Twitter - @CanRevAgency.

Subscribe to a CRA electronic mailing list.

Add our RSS feeds to your feed reader.

You can also watch our tax-related videos on YouTube.

Philippe Brideau
Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency