Opening your mailbox or receiving a notification from the Canada Revenue Agency’s MyAccount often causes concerns, especially if it’s unexpected. Knowing that the request could be as simple as a Notice of Assessment to as complex as an audit request, but until you actually see it with your own eyes, it’s common to expect the worst.
There is, of course, no need to push the panic button, as not all . Not all correspondence from CRA is bad news.
Here’s what you need to know about paperwork sent by the 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 MyAccount 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.
The Notice of Assessment also carries along with it a very important deadline. If you do not agree with the information on your Notice of Assessment, you have 90 days from the date it’s issued to appeal the information with the CRA. This is important because if you expected a refund, but the NOA indicates that you owe the CRA money and you do not appeal it within the 90-days provided, then the CRA can, on day 91, for example, take the money from you.
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.
the 90-day limitation window also applies.
Request for Information
Commonly mistaken for an audit, a Request for Information from the 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 MyAccount holder, submitting your scanned receipts is easy via the online portal. If you haven’t registered for a CRA MyAccount, submit your receipts to CRA either by mail, or by fax to the person who has requested the information. Make sure to keep copies for your files, and it’s always wise to let the person at the CRA know that you have sent the documents. An open dialogue with someone who has the ability to deny your claims can only be positive.
It is not common for a Taxpayer to be audited immediately upon filing your tax return unless there is something going on which has been a pattern, or if the information on the return is obviously far from accurate. Regardless, the first step is to respond to the request. Ignoring the request won’t make it go away. In fact, if you do not make attempts to contact the auditor, it is extremely likely that they will deny your claim, assess you a balance outstanding and send you to Collections to collect that balance. At that point, getting in touch with the auditor can be very difficult.
To learn more about the audit process, check out CRA’s webpage What you should know about audits.
References & Resources