The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides several different online accounts for Canadian businesses which can make viewing your tax information and keeping your small business in the CRA’s good books easier.
Here’s an overview of the accounts you’ll need to do your tax business with the CRA online.
My Account lets you see and manage your personal income tax and benefit information online. It’s particularly useful for:
- seeing your account balance and payments history,
- finding information such as the amount of instalments you owe or have paid,
- finding your RRSP contribution limit and TFSA contribution room,
- and making changes to your income tax return(s) if you have to.
However, these four things are truly the tip of the iceberg; here’s the CRA list of what you can do with My Account.
And once you’re registered as a My Business Account user, you’ll be able to get email notifications whenever there’s new correspondence from the CRA.
How to Register for My Account
You can access My Account in one of two ways, through a Sign-In Partner (selected financial institutions such as BMO Bank of Montreal and ING Direct) or through creating and using a CRA log in. Using the Sign-In Partner option if you can is convenient because then you can use the same sign-in information that you use for your online banking.
Either way, you will need to have handy:
- your social insurance number;
- your date of birth;
- your current postal code or ZIP code and;
- your current and/or last year’s income tax return as you will be asked to enter an amount you entered on a particular line on one of these returns. (The line requested varies.)
To register, choose either the big blue “Continue to Sign-In Partner” or big blue “CRA Register” button on this log-in page.
You will be asked to enter all the information asked for above, to create a user name and password (if you’re not using the Sign-In Partner option) and to select and answer five (yes, five!) security questions.
Once you’ve completed the process, you’ll see a message informing you that the CRA will send you a security code by mail that you should receive within five to ten days. Once you get it, you’ll be able to log-in and use the code to access your My Account online service.
Frustrating, I know. So when you’re finished registering, you might want to click on the Quick Access link rather than hitting exit. Quick Access lets you have a look at some of your personal tax information such as your tax return status, RRSP deduction limit and TFSA contribution room.
You can use Quick Access at any time as long as you have your relevant personal information to identify yourself (including the dollar amount you calculated and entered at line 150 (Total Income) of your most current filed and processed income tax return from the previous two tax years).
My Business Account
My Business Account is for business owners who:
- file GST/HST;
- have payroll;
- have import/export accounts and/or
- file corporate income tax.
This is the CRA online account you need to deal with all the other tax matters related to your Canadian business. (If you operate a sole proprietorship or partnership, you will also have to use the My Accounts service if you want to take care of your income tax online.)
Here are some of the services available through My Business Account:
- View/update business information such as operating names, physical/email addresses, banking info, etc.
- File/adjust corporate tax, GST/HST, and Excise tax returns and make online payments
- View corporate account balances, direct deposit transactions, remitting requirements
- Authorize access for representatives such as employees, accountants, bookkeepers, lawyers, etc.
- Submit documents in electronic form
- Submit enquiries
- Register formal dispute notices (objections or appeals) for rulings on corporate tax, payroll, etc.
- Request CPP/EI rulings (such as whether a worker is an employee or contractor, pensionable or insurable, etc.)
(Note though, that if your business is in Quebec, you will have to use the Revenu Québec website to access your GST/HST accounts.)
How to Register for My Business Account
The procedure for registering for My Business Account is the same as the procedure for registering for My Account outlined above. (See How to Register for My Account.)
When you’ve received your CRA security code and are logging in to My Business Account, you will also have to enter your Business Number.
Represent a Client
If you want someone else to be able to access your business’s tax information online, such as an accountant, lawyer, bookkeeper, employee, friend or family member, he or she can use the Canada Revenue Agency’s Represent a Client service to do that.
How to Register for Represent a Client
If you are a person, professional or business that needs to use the Represent a Client service, you can access it through a Sign-In Partner or through a CRA log-in account.
To register, you’ll be asked for:
- the access code on your Notice of Assessment (the eight-character alphanumeric code found in the right-hand corner of the notice).
- your postal or ZIP code.
Then you’ll create a CRA user ID and password and select and answer a variety of security questions.
You will then register with the Represent a Client online service by registering your business (using your Business Number) or yourself to receive a representative identifier (RepID) or register a group and receive a group identifier (GroupID).
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to Give your Business Number (BN), GroupID or RepID to the client you’re representing (individual, business, or your employer) so they can authorize you.
If your client is an individual, they can authorize you online by going to the My Account service and entering the appropriate ID number (the Rep, Group or Business Number ID that you received).
If your client is a business, they can authorize you online by going to My Business Account and entering the appropriate ID number.
(Authorization can also be done the old slow way by filling out a form and mailing to the appropriate tax centre. For individuals, Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative would have to be completed and sent in; for businesses, Form RC59, Business consent form.)
Once you’re authorized, you’ll be able to access the Represent a Client service and access all your client’s tax information.