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The great payday: Canadians could be missing out on uncashed cheques

The Canada Revenue Agency holds an astonishing $1.4 billion in uncashed cheques, and one of these cheques could very well have your name on it.

In an era where the cost of living continues to soar, managing day-to-day expenses can be an uphill battle for many.

From rent to groceries, the struggle to make ends meet is a familiar narrative for countless Canadians. But what if a potential solution lies in unclaimed funds waiting to be discovered?

Surprisingly, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) holds an astonishing $1.4 billion in uncashed cheques, and one of these cheques could very well have your name on it. Some of these unclaimed funds date back to as early as 1998, akin to stumbling upon a forgotten lottery ticket or discovering cash in an old coat pocket.

The potential windfall from these cheques is staggering, with some amounts reaching up to $30,000. For many, it could mean an unexpected financial boon—a break that could significantly impact their lives.

Why are there so many uncashed cheques?

These uncashed cheques are part of the millions issued annually by the CRA to Canadian taxpayers in the form of refund benefits, delivered through either direct deposit or traditional cheques.

Remarkably, government cheques never expire, retaining their validity even if misplaced or left uncashed. The CRA is unable to void an original cheque and reissue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer.

How much money can someone expect to receive?

On average, each uncashed cheque amounts to $158—a noteworthy sum that could make a meaningful difference in someone's financial situation.

How to check if you have an uncashed cheque with the CRA?

For those registered on "My Account," checking for any unclaimed cheques is just a few clicks away. Introduced in 2020, a feature within the CRA's My Account portal allows taxpayers to view and claim unclaimed benefit and credit payments promptly. This online platform empowers individuals to manage their tax affairs conveniently.

For those yet to sign up for an online account, the process is simple. You can register on the CRA website or contact their General Enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281 for assistance.

To ensure a more secure and convenient way of receiving funds, signing up for direct deposit is highly recommended. This method guarantees that future payments will be securely deposited into your bank account, eliminating the risk of missing out on any cheques.

How to claim an uncashed cheque

Claiming any uncashed cheques involves filling out and submitting the CRA's Form PWGSC 535. The form requires a witness's signature, excluding family members, and a separate form must be completed for each uncashed cheque. These forms can be submitted electronically or through traditional mail services.

Once the paperwork is processed, the CRA typically requires up to six weeks to issue the payment. Any outstanding debts will be settled before a new cheque is reissued.

Ultimately, these unclaimed funds will be mailed to the taxpayer's current address or deposited directly into their bank account, if enrolled in direct deposit.

For more detailed information on claiming uncashed cheques, the CRA offers comprehensive guidance on their official website at