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The Benefits of using CRA Online Services for Individuals and Businesses

April 16, 2015

Your accountant may be recommending that you sign up for online services available through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Like online banking, CRA’s online services provide a secure portal that gives you access to the following information:

  • My Account – for individuals – information about your personal income tax and benefit information
  • My Business Account – for business owners – provides an opportunity to interact electronically with CRA on various business accounts, such as GST/HST, payroll and corporate income taxes.

My Account for Individuals:

Once enrolled, there are many things you can view and print directly from the website. You can also check the status of your tax return, change direct deposit information, upload documents directly to CRA and many other helpful tasks. The service is available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week and the information is up-to-the-minute. More information about the benefits of My Account for Individuals can be found at CRA’s website.

Signing up for My Account is an easy process however you will need to provide the following information:

  • your social insurance number;
  • your date of birth;
  • your current postal code and;
  • an amount that was entered on your income tax and benefit return, so have your copy on hand (the line requested will vary and it could be from either the current tax year or the previous one). Your tax return for either of these two years must have been filed and assessed for you to register.

Once the online registration process is completed, CRA will mail you a security code that you will need to finalize the setup.  While you await the letter from CRA, you will have limited access to some information.  It is important to finalize your registration as soon as you receive your security code as it has an expiry date.

Individuals having their taxes prepared by a professional accountant will also be asked to sign a T1013 which will authorize your accountant to speak directly to CRA on your behalf as well as access some of the information that is available on your My Account.  This is an extremely useful resource for both you and your accountant.  CRA Representatives will not speak with anyone about you unless this authorization is in place.  The authorization can be revoked at any time and changed should you switch accountants.

My Business Account:

Businesses that register for My Business Account have access to valuable information on their various accounts with CRA  including the status of their returns and account balances, plus the ability to file some of your returns, such as GST, online.

The process for registering your business is very similar to My Account for Individuals.  As the business owner, you will need the same information as needed for My Account plus your Business Number. CRA will also mail a security code that will be needed to finalize your registration.

Businesses can also make their accountant an authorized representative, allowing them to communicate with CRA on their behalf.   This requires completion of an RC59 and in addition to authorizing CRA to speak directly to your accountant, the authorization provides your accountant with access to many of the resources that are available on your My Business Account. Authorization can be cancelled or transferred at any time by completing another RC59 with the necessary information.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact a member of the Empire CPA team by filling out the contact form below.

Canadian and foreign tax laws are complex and have a tendency to change on a frequent basis. As such, the content published above is believed to be accurate as of the date of this post. Before implementing any tax planning, please seek professional advice from a qualified tax professional. Empire, Chartered Professional Accountants will not accept any liability for any tax ramifications that may result from acting based on the information contained above.

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