T451 Tax Form: Federal Notice of Assessment in Canada

What is the T451 tax form?

It is commonly called a Notice of Assessment. The CRA sends it to you every year after they have received your federal income tax return. Revenu Québec also sends a notice of assessment for Québec income tax.

What information is included on it?

  • Refund or balance owing: The CRA’s Notice of Assessment lets you know if you are getting a refund or if you have a balance owing. You will also see if any corrections have been made to your return.
  • Total household income: The form also shows your total household income on line 150. That figure is used to determine if you are eligible for several programs.
  • Application for a GST/HST rebate: The CRA informs you of any corrections that have been made on your rebate application.
  • RRSP deduction limit: The RRSP deduction limit represents the maximum amount that you can contribute to your RRSP.
  • Repayment required for the Home Buyers’ Plan: If you have benefited from a home tax deduction and withdrawn money from your RRSP for the Home Buyers’ Plan, your Notice of Assessment indicates what you need to repay in the current tax year.
  • Tuition, education and textbook carry forward amounts: As part of student tax deductions, this is the amount you can carry forward indefinitely if you do not need the full tuition, education and textbook amounts to reduce your tax payable to zero.
  • Unused net capital losses: Those unused net capital losses can be carried back three years and carried forward indefinitely to be applied against capital gains.
  • TFSA: Your Notice of Assessment shows your TFSA contributions, withdrawals and unused contribution room.

How does the CRA review tax returns?

  • Pre-assessment review program: From February to July, most returns are screened by the CRA’s computer system to verify various deductions and credits so Notices of Assessment are sent out as fast as possible. All returns may be reviewed at a later date. 
  • Processing review program: From June to November, another review similar to the pre-assessment review takes place after the Notice of Assessment has been sent.
  • Matching program: From September to March, the information you entered on their return is compared with information the CRA has received from third parties like your employer, financial institutions, etc. and errors are corrected if necessary. If there were errors, you will receive a T491 tax form - Notice of Reassessment - and a refund if applicable.

What else happens during the Matching program?

By verifying your net income, the program insures that you get all the benefits you are entitled to from the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the GST/HST credit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. During that review, errors are also corrected related to your RRSP deduction limit and family tax deductions like child-care expenses, provincial tax credits and provincial tax reductions. 

I have lost my Notice of Assessment. What can I do?

If you have lost that important tax form, you can access My Account for individuals through the CRA’s online services or call the T.I.P.S. line at 1-800-267-6999.

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