Don’t Get Scammed!
We’ve all gotten the spam calls before; that your SIN has been compromised, the immigration agency is after you, or that you owe thousands to CRA and they want payment immediately in gift cards. Usually, we can tell that something is fishy, but what if CRA is actually trying to contact you for a debt you owe them? CRA does use phone calls as a way to inform taxpayers of outstanding amounts owing.
Now that many of the emergency COVID-19 measures are expiring or transitioning into long-term programs, CRA is resuming their collections departments and making these sorts of calls. If you had taxes owing, the good news is that no interest has accumulated over the last five months. However, that time has come to an end – any balance that became owing on or after March 18th was deferred to September 30th and is now beginning to incur interest.
How to protect yourself:
Receiving a call claiming to be the CRA asking you to pay is irritating at best, frightening at worst. Here are a few things you can do to verify the identity of the caller and deal with taxes owing.
- Don’t give any information right away
- Never share your SIN or even name until you verify the authenticity of the call
- Verify the authenticity of the call
- Ask for the agent’s ID number, write it down. Tell the agent that you will hang up and call back using the general CRA collections line. You can then verify with the agent that picks up if the call and ID number were legitimate.
- If you’re unsure, contact us
- If you’ve ever filed your tax return with Talbot & Associates, we have access to your CRA account and can see if there are any amounts owing on your file. We can also tell why you owe money and where the debt originated.
Dealing with an amount owing to CRA is important. CRA has the authority to garnish wages and seize bank accounts if the debt is ignored for too long. A genuine CRA agent will never use aggressive or threatening language or demand immediate payment. They are usually accommodating and will be willing to set up taxpayers with a payment plan to pay off the amount owing in a fair amount of time.