There have been numerous CRA scams reported in the news the past several years about outstanding tax bills. Our Barrie office receives telephone calls and forwarded emails from clients on a weekly basis asking us whether they are legitimate.
If you owe money to CRA, you would be aware of it. You would have a balance owing on taxes (or business accounts) and would receive notices in the post advising you of these debts. These notices could eventually look urgent if they are ignored over a period of time. However, if people who owe taxes get to the collection stage, it is because they have received numerous letters that they have not responded to. You will NEVER receive an urgent sounding telephone call or email from CRA for something you have no prior knowledge of.
Do not rely on you call display because many scammers have methods of masking a number to look like it is coming from the Government of Canada.
Here is a list of things CRA will NOT do:
- Send you an email with an attachment (unless you have specifically requested information from them)
- Notify you via email that you have a refund coming and to provide information such as your banking information to receive it
- Have someone come to you door to arrange/negotiate payment or meet in a public place to arrange payment
- Send (yes, there was a scam reported on the news where they had fake police officers go to victim’s homes) police or call police about your taxes owing
- Take your payment by credit card, money transfer, or payment in gift cards such as ITunes cards
- Ask for your personal information such as SIN, passport, health card, driver’s license or banking information
- Threaten you with immediate arrest or prison sentence
- Make spelling or grammar mistakes – such as spelling Revenue incorrectly
If you are sure it is not legitimate, ignore it. Hang up the phone or delete the email without clicking on any attachments.
If you are concerned about it, you can double-check with your accounting firm or the CRA. You can access your tax information through CRA MyAccount or telephone CRA. CRA’s telephone number for personal tax inquiries is 1-800-959-8281.
You may report to the police, but are not obligated to unless you have suffered a loss.