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Do you have Uncashed CRA Cheques? Here's what to do with them

Written by Jessica Steer
Reviewed by Victor Ko
You might be surprised to learn this, but according to the Canada Revenue Agency, there are over  9 million uncashed cheques valued at over $1.4 billion from the federal government since the CRA launched this initiative.
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    While some people still have these cheques, others don’t have the original cheque or have never even received them. How do you know if one of these cheques is yours?

    Well, in Canada, many people don’t know this, but if your cheque from the CRA was lost or destroyed, you can request a replacement cheque. You may not know whether or not you have a missing cheque, though. If that’s the case, it’s still best to speak with the CRA to see if you’re owed money.

    Where to Find if You Have Uncashed Cheques

    If you’re unsure of whether or not you have an uncashed cheque from the CRA, there are two different ways you can find out. The first is to call the CRA directly. They’ll be able to see your account and let you know. The other way is to log into your CRA MyAccount.

    Once you’re logged in, you go to the MyAccount overview page, and there will be a selection that says view uncashed cheques. This will show you if you have any or not. If you do, there’s then a process you can go through in order to get another copy of the cheque. 

    How Long CRA Cheques Are Good For

    If you already have a cheque from the CRA but it’s old and you haven’t cashed it, you’ll be relieved to note that cheques from the CRA don’t expire or become stale-dated. You can take them to a bank or cash them through the bank accounts app at any time. There’s also no fee for cashing a CRA cheque. 

    Types of Uncashed Cheques from the CRA

    In Canada, there are a variety of different cheques you could have received from the CRA that have gone uncashed. That said, there are two main ones that the CRA has noticed are the most uncashed.

    The GST/HST cheques make up over half of the unclaimed cheques, while the majority of the rest seem to be from child and family benefits and credit payments. That said, there are plenty of other reasons you could have received a cheque that’s gone uncashed. 

    Payments You Could Receive From the CRA

    While we have mentioned what the two most common uncashed cheques are, that’s barely scratching the surface. Let’s take a look at some of the different cheques you could have received and what they are. It’s important to note, though, that while these are most of the common payments, there could be others that you’ve received a cheque for; they just aren’t the majority. 

    Climate Action Incentive Payment

    The Climate Action Incentive Payment, also referred to as CAIP, is available to those in certain provinces. The federal government makes this payment to help those who are eligible offset the costs of federal pollution pricing. Provinces can choose to go with the federal payment or provincial payment as long as they meet the regulations.

    Provinces that currently don’t issue CAIP are BC, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.  Most of these places issue their own provincial payments. While these payments come from the federal government, things like the Alberta Energy Tax Refund don’t. 

    Canada Child Benefit

    The Canada Child Benefit also referred to as CCB, is a federal benefit issued to parents through government cheques in Canada. How much parents receive for the CCB is based on the age of the child, how many children are in the home, and the adjusted family net income (AFNI). 

    GST/HST Credit

    In Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency issues a GST/HST payment every 4 months to Canadians who earn low and moderate incomes. This is a tax-free amount that offsets the cost of GST/HST paid by these individuals. While not everyone qualifies, you don’t have to pay. Your eligibility is based on your annual income from your tax return. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive the payments automatically. 

    Disability Tax Credit

    The Disability Tax Credit is a federal credit issued by the CRA that those with disabilities or their caregivers can apply for. The purpose of this credit is to offset the costs of the disability by reducing the amount of income tax that’s paid. With this credit, you’ll receive both a federal and provincial amount. While in some cases, you won’t have to reapply again, you may be asked to reapply every 10 years or so. 

    Child Disability Benefit

    If you’re the parent of a child with a disability, you can be eligible for both the child disability benefit and the disability tax credit. The child disability benefit will be given to you instead of the Canada Child Benefit until your child turns 18 years of age. 

    Provincial and Territorial Benefits

    In Canada, every province or territory issues provincial and territorial benefits based on where they live as long as they qualify. Many of these benefits are tied to federal benefits, so the CRA also issues them. Whether or not you’ll receive these benefits is based on your annual tax return. 

    Replacing Your Uncashed Cheques

    If you’ve discovered that you have uncashed cheques from the CRA but no longer have that cheque in your possession, then you can contact the CRA client services in order to collect unclaimed benefits with either direct deposit or a new cheque. In order to do this, you just need to fill out form PWGSC 535, Undertaking and Indemnity. Depending on whether you submit this form electronically or by mail, it can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to be processed. 

    Final Thoughts

    Now that most Canadians receive their federal payments through direct deposit, there are fewer uncashed cheques. That said, when most Canadians received their federal payments through cheques, many of those went uncashed, specifically over a million.

    Due to the fact that federal cheques never expire or become stale-dated, you can still claim those funds today, as long as you have the cheque. If you don’t have the cheque, you’ll have to request a duplicate payment from the CRA. If you’re unsure if you have any funds you haven’t cashed, then check your online CRA Account. You may be surprised by what you find and be able to claim some extra money. 

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