In a recent conversation with another accountant, we came across a troubling situation that all taxpayers should be aware of. In August 2020, CRA was the victim of a hack. Over 5,500 accounts were affected and CRA took steps to shut down access to a variety of features through My Account, My Business Account and Represent a Client; some of which are still not available.
These hacks were often used to set up fraudulent CERB [original article linked here] applications and change direct deposit details so that CERB payments were directed to new bank accounts. The victim was often unaware that any of this had occurred.
Fast forward to February 2021 and CRA has stated to issue T4A slips for CERB payments. These are arriving in the mail and causing shock and surprise to certain victims of the fraud. If nothing is done CRA will expect this income to be reported on the victim’s 2020 personal income tax return and taxes to be paid. CERB payments could be up to $14,000 and depending on your personal income tax bracket and the province of residence, the tax bill could exceed $5,000.
If you receive a T4A slip for CERB payments and did not actually receive any payments, your first call needs to be to CRA (1-866-809-6841) to report the fraud. That phone call will allow CRA to open a fraud claim and start to verify that you did not apply for or receive any CERB payments. They will be able to cancel the T4A slip as well. We expect that this process will take some time and could delay the filing of your personal income tax return so the sooner you contact CRA if you feel you are a victim of CERB Fraud, the better.