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The annual tradition of gathering your paperwork and remitting your financial information to the government kicks off sometime in February, with a deadline of April 30, or June 17 if you are self-employed. 

Depending on your situation, there will be different paperwork that you need. If you’re self-employed, a caretaker, or a student, your documents differ from a pensioner or full-time employee. One document, however, gets issued to every tax-paying Canadian is a Notice of Assessment (NOA). 

In this article, we detail everything you need to know about this important document. 

Key Points You Should Know About A Notice Of Assessment

NOAStands for “Notice Of Assessment.”
What is a NOA?A NOA is a document the CRA sends you after you file your taxes. On it, you’ll find out whether you owe money or will be getting a refund. It will also provide you with an overview of your income, credits & deductions claimed. 
When do you get a NOA? Approximately 2 weeks after filing electronically.
Approximately 8 weeks after filing by paper.
Where can I find my NOA?CRA MyAccount.

What Is A Notice Of Assessment (NOA)? 

A Notice of Assessment is the government’s evaluation of your income tax return. After you file your taxes each year, the Canada Revenue Agency sends you an NOA. It proves that the government assessed your return and calculated any discrepancies. The documents state whether you are entitled to a credit or if you owe the government money.

The NOA also dictates your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) deductible limit for the current tax year. It’s an essential document that is best to file away carefully with the rest of your tax records. 

Where Can You Find Your NOA Statement? 

Depending on whether you’ve opted for the CRA Online Mail service, you’ll either receive your NOA statement online or via mail. 

To receive your statement online, you must give permission during tax filing. Provide your email address when prompted to sign up for email notifications.

  • Online – You can use your CRA My Account to access any Notice of Assessment issued from 2004 onward (if you use a PC). The mobile application gives access to NOAs issued after 2015.

When Will You Get Your Notice Of Assessment?

The CRA established a set of standards for service. While they don’t guarantee that the documents will reach you within this term, they serve as a guideline for what to expect.

When You File Online 

Per the CRA standards, if your T1 individual income tax return was submitted electronically, then you can expect a Notice of Assessment within two weeks

The standard applies only to returns filed on time and does not take into account extenuating circumstances on the government’s end, nor for complex filing situations such as multiple tax year returns or changes via ReFILE. 

When You File By Paper

If you filed your income tax on paper, before the due date, then you can expect a Notice of Assessment within eight weeks. This timer starts once the government receives your return, rather than the day you sent it through the post. 


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What Exactly Is Included In Your Your Notice Of Assessment (NOA)

There are three main sections on your NOA, plus two additional sections that may appear on certain NOAs: 

Account Summary

The account summary portion of your notice displays the final results of your assessment, whether it was a reassessment or an original. It could be a balance owed, net zero, or a credit on your account. 

Tax Assessment Summary

The tax assessment summary provides basic information that the CRA used to complete its calculations. Lines 15000 and 43700 represent your total income and total deductible income. These numbers serve as the key metrics for the CRA’s assessments. 

Compare the numbers on your return versus the notice to determine if there were any changes

The section details any interest or penalty assessed based on your amount owing or refunds. Anything owing from a prior assessment also appears in this section. 

What is line 10100 (or 101) on your tax return?

Explanation Of Changes And Other Important Information

The next section in your Notice of Assessment offers clarifying information as to any changes the CRA made. The purpose of this portion is to provide any necessary information, such as ways to dispute any changes or rectify any information. 

RRSP Deduction Limit Statement

The final section on your NOA is the RRSP deduction limit statement. It contains all the information relevant to your registered retirement savings for the previous year. Carefully attending to this information ensures that you don’t incur any penalties and that you can make the most of all your different accounts. This section diverges into the following sections: 

  • Deduction Limit: This refers to the amount you can deduct for the following year.
  • Contribution Room: The amount of money you can contribute during the following year is called your available contribution room. 
  • Excess Contribution: This happens when you contribute more than your allowable deductions, meaning you over-contributed to the account. In many cases, you may owe tax on this overage. By monitoring your contribution statements on your notices, you can avoid penalties for overcontributions. 

Home Buyers’ Plan Statement

In some situations, this section will succeed your RRSP details. It relates to participants in the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). This portion of the notice indicates any balance left to repay and your minimum repayment amount for the following year.

Lifelong Learning Plan statement

Participants of the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) have this section on their Notice of Assessment. It indicates any balance owed and the minimum payment required for the following year.

Are you having your taxes audited by the government? 

Checking The Status Of Your Notice Of Assessment

If you’ve waited longer than the two weeks noted on the CRA website, then there are a couple of steps to take. First, navigate to your portal on the CRA MyAccount and check for your Notice of Assessment. The portal includes all of your mail, copies of essential information, and is a quick and easy way to interact with Revenue Canada. 

What If You Don’t Agree With Changes On Your NOA?

If you don’t agree with the changes on your Notice of Assessment, then there are several things you can do. The first is to provide any extra documentation that would change the circumstances leading to that assessment. For instance, if you can substantiate a deduction that you originally claimed and was later assessed as incorrect, the CRA can conduct a reassessment.

In situations where you have nothing new to add, yet still believe that the CRA is incorrect in its findings, then you can file an objection or dispute. This applies to two specific situations:

  1. You believe that the CRA misinterpreted the facts. Suppose the CRA concludes that you did not qualify for a home office expense deduction because they believe you did not use part of your home exclusively for work. However, you maintain that a specific area of your home was used solely for business purposes, and you have previously provided evidence to support this claim. In this case, you’re disputing the CRA’s interpretation of your situation, not the accuracy of the information you’ve submitted.
  2. You believe that the CRA misapplied the law. Consider a situation where the CRA denies your claim for a medical expense tax credit for an unconventional treatment. You believe this decision was made because the CRA incorrectly applied the tax law, perhaps overlooking a recent amendment or judicial ruling that validates your claim. Here, the dispute centers on the legal basis for your claim, asserting that the CRA’s decision does not accurately reflect the current state of tax law or its intended application to cases like yours.

To register your dispute, follow the decision tree and once you decide to register an objection formally, you can do so here. If the CRA agrees with your dispute, wholly or in part, then they will correct the error and send you a reassessment. 

Bottom Line

Notices of Assessments comprise personally identifying financial information. They serve an important role in household accounting and provide proof of your tax filings. Due to the sensitive nature of these documents, keep them in a private, secure place. If you use the online service or have digital backups, protect the files with a strong password. 

You can use your Notices of Assessment as proof of tax filings when getting loans, as substantiating documentation when you vote, and for many other purposes. Provided you keep track of your NOAs, you can ensure that the government has accurate records, that you pay the correct amount of taxes, and always have your information up to date. 

Notice of Assessment FAQs

How long should you keep your Notice of Assessment?

In general, you should keep your NOA and other tax documents for 7 years. If you don’t want to keep a paper copy, you could get digital access to your files through your MyAccount. 

Why can’t I find my Notice of Assessment?

If you can’t find your Notice of Assessment, simply log in to your CRA MyAccount and navigate to the notice you’re looking for. As long as it postdates 2004 (on a PC) or 2015 on a mobile device, then you can get the document in a matter of minutes. If you don’t have an account, you can set one up; alternatively, you can call the CRA directly to request a paper copy. 

How long after I receive my Notice of Assessment will I get my refund?

Tax refunds are usually sent within two weeks from the date on your Notice of Assessment. In many cases, the two arrive simultaneously (as a direct deposit and digital notice). If you rely on paper mail, then you can expect the cheque with your return to arrive within eight weeks.
Corrina Murdoch avatar on Loans Canada
Corrina Murdoch

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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