It’s available, but forget about calling
Still looking to contribute to a Tax-Free Savings Account before the end of the year? If you’re not sure how much contribution room you have available for this year, you’ll have to do some digging. Unlike RRSP contribution room, that information is not shown on your annual Notice of Assessment. But getting that and other information on registered accounts and on your tax status in general isn’t easy. Here’s a primer on contacting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Anyone who has dealt with the Canada Revenue Agency knows that they can easily find you when they want to. Getting hold of a real person when you have a query is a different story. Which is why the CRA encourages you to use their online services. You can find a list of these services at the CRA’s “E-services for individuals” page.
Basically it boils down to registering for an online CRA account, which is the gateway to a great deal of information and activity on your CRA tax account. To register, and to get access, you will need the following information:
- Your social insurance number.
- Your date of birth.
- Your current postal code.
- Your two most recent income tax and benefit returns. An amount you entered on your income tax and benefit returns will be requested as a security feature, and will vary.
Once you’ve registered and logged in, you’ll be able to access a great deal of current information, including details on TFSAs, RRSPs, Home Buyers’ Plan and Lifelong Learning Plan, carryover amounts, as well as benefits and credits, instalment payments, your detailed Notice of Assessment, and so on. You can also make payments, register disputes, and submit documents.
Information on your Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) is even more obscure. You’ll find basic information on how RESPs work on the CRA website. But for your RESP contribution status, your best bet is to contact your current RESP provider and ask them to supply information on contributions made to date. You might also contact Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for more information, although this may also take a fair bit of time and effort.
To speak to someone about your tax situation, you try the main CRA enquiry number for individuals, trusts, international tax, and non-residents at 1-800-959-8281.