Tax Season Is Here, and Canadians Are Leaving $1.4 Billion in Cash Unclaimed

Canadians continue to leave behind tons of cash from the government dating back to 1998! And don’t think it’s not you.

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At a time like this, it would be just astounding to think that there is cash sitting around, waiting for you to pick up, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t that be both frustrating and wonderful? Well, for millions of Canadians, it looks like this is a very likely possibility.

Sorry, what?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) about $1.4 billion in cheques have gone uncashed from years past. There were about 8.9 million uncashed cheques from the CRA simply sitting around, waiting to get cashed.

These cheques come mainly from a mixture of refunds and benefits due to Canadians. Canadians receive these cheques either through direct deposit or through the mail. However, taxpayers may forget to change an address or even misplace the cheque, leaving it unclaimed!

And if you think these are cheques left unclaimed by your elderly grandmother, think again. Many include the Canada Child Benefit, provincial programs, or even desperately needed GST/HST credits. Every quarter, the CRA then sends out e-notifications, with about 25,000 sent out last November.

Are you one of these Canadians?

There’s an easy way to find out. Simply call the CRA as one option to find out if you have uncashed cheques. However, you may have to wait on the phone for quite some time. Instead, it’s far simpler to create a My Account through the CRA website instead.

Once online, simply go to the “related services” option titled “uncashed cheques.” You can then see if you have a CRA cheque waiting from up to six months or more. And some of these cheques, the CRA states, go back as far as 1998! The total on average is about $158 per cheque.

While you’re there, definitely also consider signing up for the direct deposit program. This will make sure this type of thing never happens again.

What now?

If you suddenly receive an influx of cash, it can be exciting. But don’t go spending it! That’s why you’re here at Motley Fool, after all — to find out how to invest.

If you receive a pretty large influx, then I would consider investing in Fairfax Financial Holdings (TSX:FFH). Fairfax stock is an excellent choice, as it’s proven to do well, even during this downturn. Shares are up 8% in the last month alone and a whopping 59% in the last year as of writing.

Fairfax stock is a solid choice as a base for your investments. It managed to create a profit, even as losses came in from investments. Plus, you’ll get a solid passive-income stream from the company, with a dividend yield at 1.41% as of writing.

Shares have definitely exploded after the last decade, up 195% in that time for a compound annual growth rate of 11.43%. But you can look forward to more of this in the future, as the company continues to expand its investments.

Bottom line

Your tax returns are coming up, but there may be even more cash waiting for you! During a potential recession in the near future, you should bring in as much cash as you can. So, don’t wait around any longer. Check if you have unclaimed cheques and use them right by investing in a company like Fairfax stock.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Amy Legate-Wolfe has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Fairfax Financial. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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