It’s an advisor’s job to give you the information and tools to make knowledgeable investing and saving decisions, but there are ways to empower yourself too.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has some tips:

  1. Do your research – Knowledge is power. Are you buying a car? Opening a savings account, an RRSP, TFSA, or RESP? Signing up for a new credit card? Before making a major financial decision, make sure you ask questions, compare different options, read the fine print, and get a second opinion. Exploring all of your options is always less expensive than learning through experience.
  2. Get access to credits and benefits you may be eligible for – Even if you don’t have an income, by filing your income tax and benefit return, you could automatically qualify for tax credits and benefits like the working income tax benefit (WITB) or other benefits such as the Canada child benefit and the GST/HST credit. To learn more about tax credits and benefits you may be eligible for, go to CRA’s website. Need help filing your tax return? The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) helps eligible individuals in the community during tax time. Already receiving benefits? Sign up for direct deposit to receive your payments directly in your bank account without any interruptions or delays.
  3. Keep accurate records – You can’t manage what you don’t know. By keeping accurate and up-to-date books, records and documents, you can confirm when you paid certain bills and track things like your income and expenses. When it comes to taxes, individuals and businesses should keep receipts and supporting documents for six years in case CRA needs to see them again. If your books and records were lost or destroyed due to circumstances out of your control, CRA might be able to help Looking for an easy way to manage your records? CRA’s range of secure online services makes it easy to access your important information right when you need it.
  4. Protect yourself from fraud – If you get a call or email that sounds like a scam, it probably is. Always be careful about providing confidential personal information, especially banking or credit card details, unless you’re certain the company or organization is legitimate. Make sure to never open, click or respond to links or messages from unfamiliar or suspicious sources. When it comes to taxes, the CRA will never:
    • Request prepaid credit cards or gift cards.
    • Ask for your information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license.
    • Leave personal information on your answering machine or voicemail or ask you to leave a message with your personal information.
    • Ask you to provide personal information by email.

If you have doubts about someone claiming that you owe CRA money, you can call CRA or check online using My Account or My Business Account. It’s free, and it might save you from losing your hard-earned money. For more information on tax scams and fraud, visit the CRA’s fraud prevention page. To report a scam, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.