One of my tax clients had a balance owing on her 2020 tax return — but she didn’t know it because she hadn’t received a notification in the mail.
Now, in addition to owing taxes, she was on the hook for interest and penalties as well.
You may be in this situation yourself and not realize it. Here’s why it happened and how to fix it.
How did this happen?
When you opt for online access with the CRA, everything automatically moves online. Note that “opting for online access” doesn’t mean you explicitly chose this option.
You may have just included an email address on your return or requested some type of electronic communication from the CRA.
When this opt-in happens, all communication is by email instead of regular mail. If you’re not sure what’s being communicated, the best way to find out is by logging into your online account with the CRA. Here’s more info on how to log in.
Your Notice of Assessment and/or Notice of Reassessment will be sent electronically. You will NOT receive a paper copy, so be sure to check so you don’t miss important updates.
But, it’s not all bad...
Your online account with the CRA does come with some major benefits. You can check past tax return history, RRSP and TFSA contribution limits, and double-check that you’ve received all of your information slips at tax time.
Your CRA account can also be linked to your Service Canada account, which would allow you to see your CPP contribution history.
So, what are your options?
If you prefer to communicate with the CRA via mail, don’t include an email address when you file your tax return. If you haven’t signed up to receive electronic mail from the CRA — and you want to — you can sign up for online services using this link.
Be sure to “trust” CRA communications so your emails don’t end up in your junk or spam folders!
If you’d like our office to have access to your CRA account (to check things such as RRSP and TFSA contribution limits) just let us know. A simple form is all that is needed to give us access. Your Bick Advisor is also happy to work with you to help you revert back to or maintain paper-based communication with CRA.
Having your CRA account online makes record-keeping easy (no more scrambling to remember where you put your letter of assessment). But if your CRA account is online, be sure to watch for their emails and check your notifications. You don’t want to end up with any nasty surprises.