February is associated with many special days and events throughout the month. Groundhog Day. Valentine’s Day. And, of course, the beginning of Tax Season.
February 21 marks the online start of Tax Season which also means a new season of opportunity for fraudsters. Tax identity theft occurs when fraudsters use access to your personal information to steal your tax refund or GST/HST rebates.
Take the following precautions to protect your personal information and make sure you get the refund you’re entitled to.
Protect your Social Insurance Number. Your SIN is a crucial piece of identification included in your tax return. Don’t carry it in your wallet or use it as a piece of ID and never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information. You can also register your SIN for Online Monitoring so we can alert you if your number is found exposed on the internet and you can act quickly to reduce the chances of identity fraud.
Create a Canada Revenue Agency My Account. Once you’ve registered with the CRA, sign up for email notifications (account alerts). Just like the alerts you receive from us, these will notify you of changes made to your accounts (like change of address or direct-deposit information, or a new COVID-19 benefit application in your name) or if paper mail from the CRA is returned.
Choose your tax preparer carefully! Tax preparers have access to a lot of sensitive personal information. Choose a company or someone you trust and be sure to check their references. Always review your return and agree with the content before filing and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment, since it contains important financial and personal information that belongs to you.
Tax Season can be a stressful time. Don’t make it more stressful by leaving open opportunities for fraud.