Do you realize what giving CRA your email address means?
Many taxpayers do not realize what happens if they give CRA their email address.
If you include your email address on your tax return, or provide it to CRA when you are online, then you are telling CRA that they can send you notices by uploading them to your online CRA account, and sending you an email to tell you that there is a message waiting for you.
These rules are now built into the Income Tax Act (subsection 244(14.1)). As long as you have authorized the CRA to provide notices electronically, the CRA can do so, and you are considered to have received the notice even if you never went online to read it, and even if you never saw the email telling you that there was a notice waiting for you. What some taxpayers don’t realize is that providing CRA with your email address constitutes “authorizing” the CRA to give you notices this way, because there will be text on the screen, or on the form, that says this.
The recent case of DiPierdomenico v. The King, 2023 TCC 146, is a good example of what can happen. Mr. DiPierdomenico, who was a Canada Post mail carrier, enrolled in the CRA’s “My Account” system as many taxpayers do, and in the process he authorized electronic communications to him — likely without realizing what this meant.
The CRA sent Mr. DiPierdomenico Notices of Assessment for his 2015 and 2016 tax years in December 2020 and January 2021. They did this by uploading the Notices to his My Account, and then sending him email to tell him that he should check his My Account. He apparently did not receive the email messages, and never checked his My Account. In time, the 90-day period for filing a Notice of Objection expired; and then the one-year possible extension period for an extension of time also expired. By the time Mr. DiPierdomenico applied to the Tax Court for relief, it was too late.
The Tax Court ruled that Mr. DiPierdomenico could not appeal his assessments, because he had not filed a Notice of Objection in time. The fact he had not actually received the Notices of Assessment did not matter.
So be warned: if the CRA has your email address, check your My Account monthly. And if you have a business account, such as for GST/HST or for a corporation you own, check your My Business Account monthly. Make sure you have a reminder system in place for these, so you don’t forget. Otherwise, even if the CRA makes a mistake and assesses you an amount that shouldn’t have been assessed, you will lose all your rights of appeal.