Ever wondered what a notice of assessment means? This article contains all you need to know about it and a whole lot more.
A notice of assessment (or NOA) is what you receive from the Canada Revenue Agency after submitting your tax return. It acts as a kind of receipt to show that your tax return has been received and reviewed.
If you are familiar with tax returns, then you should also know about NOAs. It’s not enough to organize your paperwork, do all your calculations, and file your taxes on time. You also have to make sure you get your NOA confirmation.
Stick around and get informed about NOAs and why they are so important.
What Is a Notice of Assessment?
Your notice of assessment contains key information, including a summary of your tax return, and it shows you any changes the CRA may have made to your return. An NOA is a critical document because it gives you the status of your tax return and alerts you to any potential problems so you can take steps to remedy them.
Your NOA is full of important information, and we’ve broken down everything you need to know about it before you can officially call your taxes done for the year.
When Will I Get My Notice of Assessment?
If signed up for online mail through your CRA My Account, you can get your notice of assessment delivered to you immediately after filing your return through the CRA’s Express NOA service.
If you’re receiving a paper copy of your notice of assessment, it will usually arrive 1 to 2 weeks after your return has been assessed. If you haven’t signed up for a direct deposit and you’re getting a refund, your NOA will be attached to your refund cheque. Otherwise, it will arrive separately.
If you’re a resident of Québec, you’ll receive your NOA from Revenu Québec within 2 weeks if you filed your return online, or within 28 days if you filed your return by mail. If you registered to receive your NOA online, you can access it through your Revenu Québec My Account for individuals. Otherwise, you’ll receive a paper copy of your NOA in the mail.
What If the Changes on My Notice of Assessment Don’t Make Sense to Me?
It is important to note that notices of assessments are computer-generated, so they may have complex explanations that are not easy to assimilate. You have the option of reaching out to the CRA (or Revenu Québec) to make certain that you understand any changes that have been made and confirm that they are correct and just the way they ought to be.
Where Should I Keep My Notice of Assessment?
Wherever you have your paperwork for safekeeping – whether that’s a tax envelope, folder or drawer, or even a whole closet – your previous year’s NOA should be filed there. This is because you might need it for something other than your taxes.
If you’re applying for a mortgage or loan, your financial institution will probably ask for a copy of your NOA to prove your income. Some social programs might also request a copy of your NOA to check your annual income for the previous year.
Is the Date I Receive My Notice of Assessment Important?
The date on your notice of assessment is used to establish the deadline for objecting to any changes the CRA (or Revenu Québec) has made. It also sets the beginning of the three-year period during which the CRA can reassess your return.
After this three-year period has expired, there are a limited number of situations in which they can still reassess you, but the most important is if you committed fraud or were negligent in the preparation of your return.
Can This Year’s Notice of Assessment Help Me Next Year?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. Your notice of assessment is handy when preparing your next tax return, so keep it in a place you can easily find it again. It contains both your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution limit for the year and your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) limit. Even though you don’t report your TFSA on your income tax form, the contribution limit for the year is included in the summary report of your NOA from the CRA.
Carry forward amounts are also included in your notice of assessment from the CRA. This includes your carried over capital losses, your unused tuition and education credits, as well as your Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) balance and repayment information. Overall, this will be useful information to know for next year’s return.
You may enter your NETFILE Access Code (NAC) when you file your federal return online. This is an 8-character code that’s used as an added security measure to verify your identity. It can be found on the right side of your NOA from the previous tax year.
Entering your NAC isn’t a must; you’ll still be able to NETFILE without it. However, if you don’t enter it, you won’t be able to use any information from your 2020 tax return to confirm your identity with the CRA in the future (for example, if you need to call the CRA or sign up for your CRA My Account). You’ll need to use other information to authenticate your identity.
Also, you don’t need your NAC to file Québec returns. The NAC also doesn’t apply to you if you’re filing your tax return for the first time.
I lost My Notice of Assessment? What Should I Do?
In the event of not being able to find your notice of assessment despite looking everywhere you possibly can, there are a few ways to get a copy of your NOA that was issued by the CRA:
Log into your CRA My Account (registration required) to view and print your NOA or notice of reassessment issued after February 9, 2015. For years prior to that, you’ll be able to see detailed summaries of your notice of assessment or reassessment; or
Use the MyCRA app to view your NOA or notice of reassessment for the current year and up to three prior years.
For an NOA or notice of reassessment issued by Revenu Québec, log into your My Account for individuals (registration required in this case) to view and print a copy (as far back as 2004).
What Does A Notice Of Assessment Include?
In a nutshell, a notice of assessment will contain four main parts:
1. An Account Summary
At the top of your assessment, you will find the account summary section. The box there indicates:
- The precise amount of money you are owing the CRA
- A plain and empty balance that indicates you do not owe anything
- Amount you are expected to receive in tax refunds
2. Tax Assessment Summary
Your income and credits are found in this section. Other information like deductions, interests added to your refund, and penalties can be found there, too.
3. Explanation of Changes and Other Important Information
Sometimes the CRA will have different information about your income or eligible deductions than you submitted. If they did make changes or corrections to your tax return, those are detailed here.
Your Canada Training Credit limit will also be found in this section if you are below 66 and above 24. This is an amount that can be claimed in future years as a refundable credit for eligible tuition or training fees.
Finally, this section includes any additional information about benefit payments you may receive from the CRA, like when you can expect current or future notices about GST/HST credits or Canada Child Benefits.
4. RRSP Deduction Limit Statement
The final section contains information about your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution room and deduction limits for the next tax year. It will also show if you made excess RRSP contributions in the tax year. If you did, you might have to pay taxes on the excess.
How and Where to Get a Notice of Assessment
The following are the current valid ways to get your notice of assessment:
1. Log into your CRA My Account Online
This is the fastest way to obtain your assessment. But remember if you do not have an account online you would need to register. See our article on how you can register for the account online by clicking here.
2. Choose the Mail Option When you File your Tax Return
If you are looking to receive your notice of assessment by paper in the future, you can choose to receive your assessment by mail when you file. On your T183 at the bottom, you have the choice to receive by electronically or by mail. Click on mail and your new Notice of Assessment will be sent to you by Mail.
3. Call the CRA to Mail you a New Copy of your Notice of Assessment
You may also call the Canada Revenue Agency to have them send you the assessment by mail. Or for that matter, have them re-send the assessment if you did not receive it. Call 1-800-959-8281. Note that calling around noon is usually the busiest time to call.
It is best to call earlier or later in the day. They will want to verify your identity so make sure you have your last two tax returns handy as they may ask for line 101 etc. For information on finding your line 101 see our article here.
4. Choose the Email Option When you File your Tax Return
When you are putting together your tax return for the Canada Revenue Agency, you may also enter your email address so that they can send your Notice of Assessment by email. You can find this option on your T1 and enter the email you wish for them to send to.
What Is an Express Notice of Assessment?
Express notice of assessment is an official document and a secure Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) service that allows individuals and authorized representatives to view the notice of assessment in their software, right after the return has been received and processed by the CRA.
Express NOA can be used by authorized representatives, individuals, or representatives of family members and friends.
Tax returns that are filed electronically are assessed so quickly that any payments you send with your return are not likely to show up on your Express NOA. To confirm any payments made to the CRA, you can check your online banking portal, login to My Account or call the Individual Tax Account Balance Automated Service to hear your account balance.
All About Notice of Assessment Refunds and Balance Owing
There are a few ways you can get refunds. These include:
1. By Direct Deposit
If you have a direct deposit, we deposit your refund directly into your bank account. Your notice should show the amount. Keep your notice or statement for your records.
2. By Cheque
If your notice includes a cheque and the amount is correct, you can cash the cheque at any moment you want.
If you think the amount is incorrect, review the information on your notice for any mistakes. If you find a mistake, go to How to change your return and find out how to ask for an adjustment.
In the event of your notice saying you owe money, make a payment to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Always save copies of your notice of assessments, as they contain important information such as your name, address, birth date and other sensitive data. Most importantly, they contain details on income received, as well as tax which you or your employer have paid.
Anyone who misuses your NOAs can cause serious problems for you, so it’s important that you keep them secure. Taking steps toward proper record management when you get assessment notices will help you avoid penalties, keep your tax filing accurate, and protect your financial information.
What Is a Tax Return
A tax return is a simple form that all Canadians fill out each year to let the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) know how much money they received from all eligible sources of income during the year. It’s really easy to do—the CRA just want to be able to keep track of how much you made, and make sure everyone is paying their share in taxes.
Hi, I'm Adeola Adegoke. I am a licensed Insurance Broker in Manitoba, and I hold a master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences (with a major in Financial Modeling) from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Tanzania.
Also, I have a second master's degree in Statistics from the University of Regina, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Manitoba.
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