The CRA is moving online
In our last post, we discussed how the Canada Revenue Agency has closed most of their public face to face operations. Instead, the Canada Revenue Agency is beginning to move most functions to access and change your information to it’s online website. Many of those features relate at the moment to individuals and increasingly to businesses.
For individuals, the features are numerous but just to name a few:
- Review past account balances and credits
- Identify which benefits you apply for, like the Child tax benefit and apply for them
- Review RRSP, TFSA or Home Buyer Plan limits
- Change personal information like address and marital status
- Authorize a representative
- Register a dispute
- Change tax returns for adjustments
For companies, business owners can do numerous things like:
- Submit HST, source deductions and corporate income tax returns
- View past account balances of your accounts
- View the status of your return filings
- Register a dispute with the government
- Authorize a representative
- Submit enquiries and questions
The CRA has in our experience never allowed their agents to use email to communicate with you or businesses. Instead, the CRA is using their website to allow people to submit enquiries and documents online. This can save a lot of time because when something needs to be sent, it can be done electronically almost immediately.
Another interesting feature is the ability to change representatives. Should there be a situation where you want your accountant to be able to talk on your behalf, you can almost immediately change that with the My Business Account functions.
In addition, the representative you select can also access many of your records for you as well. This will save you some hassle of making sure you have all your records because they can look it up themselves. Not all the information is available, but a good portion is there online.
How to register
As you might expect with something that is so personal and private, the CRA has a number of steps that are required to be able to register. They want to make sure that your information is securely held.
To set up your account to access your options, visit http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ and choose Log in / Register. You’ll then be given the option to register in a variety of ways. If you have online banking, many will allow you to register to access your account. Alternatively, you can arrange for the CRA to send a special code to your last listed home address. You can also call them for this information.
The government has provided some helpful guides which you can access below to setup your accounts with them.
For personal accounts: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/esrvc-srvce/tx/psssrvcs/gtnln/nfgrphc1-eng.html
For business accounts: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/esrvc-srvce/tx/psssrvcs/gtnln/nfgrphc2-eng.html
As with all situations with private information online, be very careful about how you set it up, and access it. Use strong passwords. Do not trust emails reported to be from the Canada Revenue Agency as they never send out emails. If you choose to authorize a representative to access your account, please be sure that you fully trust that individual or organization.
The government is continuing to expand their online functionality. The features and methods may also change over time.
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to speak to your accountant or contact us at 416-495-1098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.