Opening your mailbox or email account and finding an unexpected letter from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can be alarming to say the least! From simple requests to assessment notices, it’s easy to assume you’re being audited. But no need to push the panic button. Not all correspondence from CRA is bad news. Here’s what you need to know about paperwork from CRA.
Notice of Assessment
When your tax return is processed by CRA, they issue a statement that outlines key line numbers and amounts as well as other important info. This statement is called a Notice of Assessment(NOA). If you filed your return electronically via NETFILE, you can expect to receive your NOA in about two weeks. If you paper-filed your return, expect your NOA in about 8 weeks.
Along with those line numbers and amounts, your NOA also contains info you’ll need to know in future years. Unused amounts for losses, tuition, etc. are listed on your NOA along with your RRSP contribution limit and future repayments due for the Home Buyers Plan and Lifelong Learning Plan. If you’re a CRA My Account holder, these amounts can also be found in the online portal.
If you discover an error on your Notice of Assessment, no need to worry. You can submit an adjustment request to have the error fixed. For example, if you realized after you filed your return that you forgot to include your child care expenses, an adjustment request is the way to go.
Notice of Reassessment
If changes are made to your original tax return (either by you via an adjustment or by CRA), the updated figures appear on a Notice of Reassessment. Similar to a NOA, a Notice of Reassessment includes certain line numbers and amounts but, this time, the changes that have been made are highlighted.
If you notice an error on your Notice of Reassessment, contact CRA directly. You may be able to add information by way of an adjustment and have the error remedied.
Request for Information
Commonly mistaken for an audit, a request for information from CRA is exactly what the name implies. The agency would like to see proof of something that appeared on your return. Common information requests are for tuition receipts, medical expenses, and home office expense claims.
Respond to the request in a timely manner. If you’re a CRA My Account holder, submitting your scanned receipts is easy via the online portal. If you haven’t registered for a CRA My Account, submit your receipts to CRA by mail, making sure to keep copies for your files.
Rarely is anyone audited right off the bat. Usually there’s at least a request for more information first. If you are being audited, your best course of action is to reply to requests on time. Ignoring the requests won’t make them go away. To learn more about the audit process, check out CRA’s webpage What you should know about audits.
Don’t be fooled by emails that look legitimate. The Canada Revenue Agency will never send your personal information via email. Even if you’ve signed up for online mail with CRA, you’ll receive an email instructing you to check your CRA My Account for a new message.
Any emails you receive telling you to “click here to deposit your refund” are scams. Fraudsters are always trying new ways to steal your identity so be extra cautious.
References & Resources