Falling for a tax scam can cost you

FRAUDDID you receive an email from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asking for personal information or to click on a link to get your refund?

Did you see an ad in the paper that claims you don’t have to pay taxes because you are two different people for income tax purposes?

Did someone sell you a donation receipt for less than the donation amount shown? These are all scams.

If you fall for a tax scam, you risk your financial security and your identity. Also, you may not be meeting your obligations under Canada’s tax laws. The consequences of your action could range from embarrassment, to inconvenience, to serious legal trouble.

Keep these facts in mind:

* The CRA does not use email to ask for personal information. Even though an email asking for personal information may look authentic, such email does not come from the CRA. This type of email is phishing, and it contains special coding or downloadable forms that are designed to steal your personal or financial information. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/fraudprevention.

* The natural / legal person argument does not hold up in court. Promoters may try to convince you to treat yourself as two people—a natural person of flesh and blood and a legal entity created by government. Promoters argue that your income belongs to the natural person who is not subject to Canadian income tax law. These are false claims that do not hold up in Canada’s courts. For more information, go to Tax Alert – Don’t buy into illegal tax protester schemes.

* You are responsible for the information on your return, even if someone else prepared it. Be aware of who you are dealing with at tax time and what their credentials are. Stay away from tax preparers whom offer you false, fictitious or fraudulent tax claims such as charitable donations, false child care expense claims, or false business expenses or losses. If you’re not sure if your claim is legitimate, get a second opinion from another tax professional, or contact the CRA’s Individual Income Tax Enquiries line at 1‑800‑959‑8281 for more information.

* You can correct a past mistake. The CRA offers a second chance to make things right through its Voluntary Disclosures Program. If you make a valid disclosure before you are aware that the CRA has started any compliance action against you, you may only have to pay the tax owing plus interest, but not the penalties. For more information, go to:


Even though scams may sound compelling and convincing, they are scams. In addition to high fees you may be asked to pay, scams are not legal and can cause serious tax consequences for you. If you make false claims on a return, the CRA can reassess it to determine correct amounts and you will have to pay interest on outstanding amounts. Also, you may be charged penalties and be prosecuted for tax evasion. Don’t become a victim, find out more at www.cra.gc.ca/alert.

The CRA’s online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track your refund, receive your notice of assessment, and more. Did you know that the Government of Canada is switching to direct deposit for payments that it issues? This includes your tax refund and benefits payments.

For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.