My package of tax booklets, forms and guides arrived in the mail today from the Canada Revenue Agency. We complete and file our taxes online by NETFILE using GenuTax Standard and StudioTax but I still like to read through the paperwork looking for new stuff and old stuff I’d forgotten. One knew item is that the CRA is asking for our email address but I don’t think I’ll be giving it to them and you might want to think about it too.
Why Does the CRA Want My Email Address?
If you’ve been paying attention for the past few years, the CRA is trying to go electronic. They no longer automatically mail you the forms and guides. They have been running big ads encouraging you to NETFILE and promising faster tax refunds to those who do.
In the latest salvo, they are trying to get out of mailing you your Notice of Assessment.
That’s Right: If You Give the CRA Your Email Address You Will NOT Receive Your Notice of Assessment in the Mail
Maybe the CRA heard about the problems with the new Super Mailboxes being able to be opened by anyone with a bit of patience and a piece of wire. I’m not sure. But it is clear the CRA does not want to mail out the Notices of Assessment and Notices of Reassessment anymore.
If you provide an email address
- You are registering for online mail.
- You are authorizing the CRA to send you email notifications (not real useful email, just a notification) when there is mail for you to read.
- You will then have to sign in to your CRA My Account to read your actual mail.
Warning: Deemed Date of Delivery!
What if you have never signed up for the My Account service? Well, I guess you’ll have to! Because
- “Any notices and correspondence delivered online on My Account will be presumed to have been sent on the date of that email notification.” !
So if you only check your email once every couple of weeks (I have several relatives that do that) you could find you “received” some important document from the CRA weeks ago even though you didn’t!
You Will Not Get Your Notices of Assessment and Reassessment in the Mail
By providing your email address on your tax return:
- “You understand and agree that your notice of assessment and notice of reassessment,
- **and any future correspondence eligible for online delivery** will no longer be mailed.
Why Would You Want to Get Your Notice of Assessment in the Mail?
A few times in my life I have had to use my Notice of Assessment as proof of various things. Twice it was on very short notice. I’m not sure I’d want to get access to a secure computer and a printer in a hurry to print off my NOA for those situations.
I’ve also lived through one major overhaul of the access system to things like My Account. It took a couple of weeks to get through the system to re-gain access after they changed the method used. I can easily foresee that happening again.
Of course, I could just print off my NOA and file it, right?
Yes, but why should I bother when I can get the government to print me a much nicer version on better paper and mail it to me, for free?
What If My Email Address Changes?
I’m sure the CRA will have some way to change our email address if we change service providers. I’m equally sure I don’t want the hassle of doing that.
Will I Sign Up for Email Correspondence with the CRA?
- How to Order Paper Forms, Guides and Brochures for your 2014 Taxes in 2015 from the CRA for Free
- What Tax Software is Approved to Use with NETFILE for your 2014 Tax Return in 2015?
Are you eager to have the CRA send you mysterious notes telling you to sign into My Account to find out what you’ve done wrong now? Or will you leave the email address space blank, too? Please share your views with a comment.