How do you find out if you have uncashed cheques?
The process is pretty simple. Just log in to the CRA My Account portal, navigate to the “Related Services” section and click on “Uncashed Cheques”.
There’s a form to request a duplicate payment, which you can complete and submit online, or mail to the Sudbury Tax Centre.
If you’re registered for direct deposit, you’ll get the payment deposited straight into your bank account. If not, you’ll receive a cheque by mail — so make sure your address is current on your CRA account.
The site also notes that there may be a delay in processing your uncashed cheques, however, due to “the recent high volume of requests.”
How do you cash them?
Luckily, CRA cheques don’t expire — you can cash them for free at any time, at any Canadian financial institution, says the CRA.
While it’s nice to find some unexpected money in your account, just keep in mind that you should cash in your cheques as soon as possible. The amounts don’t earn interest nor will they rise with inflation.
And if you’re still paying off your tax bill or owe money to the CRA from previous years, the CRA will apply the money to that balance automatically.
What should you do with the extra money?
If you’ve come across a stash of uncashed CRA cheques sitting in your account, don’t just use this as an opportunity to spend frivolously at the mall or embark on an online shopping spree.
First, pay down any credit card debt you may have. If you’ve been struggling to keep up with increasing balances and high interest rates, now’s your chance to make some headway and improve your credit score. This’ll help in the future when you apply for more credit or loans, as lenders check your score to determine whether you’re a reliable borrower.
You should also consider setting up or replenishing your emergency fund for unexpected expenses, like dealing with a job loss or a major car repair. Consider setting some cash aside in a savings account, where the money can also collect interest.
You can also start investing in the stock market with the help of a robo-advisor. You don’t need to spend big either, a popular app will let you invest with as little as $1 and automatically rebalance your portfolio so you don’t have to.
Here are some more ways to boost your budget
In case you don’t have any uncashed CRA cheques just sitting around, here are some other ideas to help increase your income during the pandemic.
Refinance your home loan. You can compare rates from multiple lenders online for free. Mortgage rates are beginning to climb again, so don’t miss your opportunity to snag a lower rate. You can Compare rates from multiple lenders online for free.
Monetize your skills and talents. If you’ve got any hobbies or skills outside of your regular job, consider setting up a side hustle to make a little extra cash in your spare time. Create an account on a platform for freelancers to advertise your skills and connect with prospective clients.
Get paid to shop. Download a free app that lets you earn cash back when you shop online and in-store at popular retailers like Indigo, Sephora and Adidas.