A former employee refuses to give his SIN, what do I do?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

Businessman showing document or contract, isolatedI have actually run into this a couple of time over the past few years. You hire someone, they work for a few days and when you start asking for their Social Insurance Number (SIN) and other information, they stall and then quit before you can get the information. Now you have no information on someone who worked for a few days. Another scenario is you hire them, make it through the first payroll, then they happen to just quit, and you have no information other than their name and some information on their resume.

What do you do in this situation?

For the scenario where you haven’t paid the employee, then make sure you make note of their hours up to the day they quit. If the employee does come back, then you will have to issue a paycheque. However, make sure the employee fills out a Federal and Provincial TD1 before you give it to them. I’d even go as far as ensuring the SIN is a valid SIN by asking to see their SIN card. If you suspect they may be misleading you then you can call Service Canada to verify the SIN.

For the employee whom you’ve had one payroll, if they’ve only had that one payroll then you only have to worry about the T4. Now, you have no information on this person other than a name and maybe a phone number. You still have to file the T4 with what personal information you have. You’ll get a call from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and you’ll have to explain that the person quit before giving you any information, and they now refuse to give it to you. If you have a phone number and/or address for the employee give those to CRA.

The first thing you should do when hiring an employee is have them fill out a TD1, which gives you their basic information and the exemptions for determining taxes. Better is having some kind of employee information sheet that all new hires fill out. On this sheet you ask for their full legal name, address, phone number, email, SIN, birthdate, emergency contact information and any other pertinent information for your company/industry.

In either of the situations above: document, document, document. Make note of every conversation you have with the employee asking for this pertinent information, and every phone call you make to ask for it. Write down the date, time and what was said. Also, keep any written (including email) conversations you have with this employee. This way no one can come back and say you didn’t try to get this information out of the employee.

In the end, hiring an employee is a major act in any businesses life. Take it very seriously, as most of the laws are in the employees favour not the employers.

Oh, and one thing that I’ve read and truly believe is to ‘hire slow, and fire fast’!

About the Author

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