Have you registered for your CRA account yet? All Canadians have access to a CRA account. It can provide you with a lot of benefits if used properly.
But, most Canadians feel like the process can be a bit overwhelming. The truth is the process doesn't have to be hard at all. With the right information and the right guidance, you can start putting your CRA account to work for you.
If you're one of the many Canadians wondering, "Where do I start with my CRA account?", then this article is for you. We're going to show you everything you need to know to get your personal CRA account up and running.
We'll take you through the Dos and Don'ts of the registration process. You'll also get an idea of the documentation you need to make getting your CRA account run smoothly.
There's a lot of information for us to cover, so let's get started.
What Is the My CRA Account?
My CRA account, or CRA My Account, is an online portal provided by the Canadian government. Residents can use this portal to view their income tax liability and benefits information online.
You can access your CRA My Account through Canada's registration process. In order to use the web portal, residents of the country need to obtain their My CRA Account online ID and password. There are multiple ways to register and there are multiple benefits to having an account.
Benefits of Having a My CRA Account
The overall benefit of having a My CRA account is that much of your tax information can be viewed online. In the past, Canadian residents would have to call the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) to receive important information about their tax account.
Now, that's all changed thanks to the My CRA web portal.
Your My CRA account can accomplish a wide range of tax functions. Residents can view and make changes to past tax returns through the portal. They'll also be able to easily check their RRSP contribution limits.
Users can also perform other functions like keeping track of any unused amounts of money. These can come from tuition loans or losses.
Canadian residents can also keep track of their long-term financial goals. By logging into your My CRA account, you can easily view your Home Buyer's Plan repayment schedule or take a look at your Lifelong Learning Plan.
You can even use your online account to set up pre-authorized debt. This can be a big help if you plan to pay your tax debt in installments.
The My CRA account can also speed up your home-buying process. If you are applying for a mortgage, and need to provide your bank with an Option C statement, you can get one easily through your online portal. The only way to get an Option C previously was by calling the CRA directly.
More Than Just Taxes
Your My CRA account can provide more than just tax information. Canadians can easily access their Ontario Trillium benefit, as well as the credits given to residents of all the other provinces and territories. GST/HST credits, Canada Childe Benefits, and your Working Income Tax Benefit are all available to you through your My CRA account.
The My CRA portal can also help with your savings account. Residents can view their Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA) information right there in their online portal. Your past and present contributions to the account are easily accessible from your portal's dashboard.
My CRA Makes It Personal
Canadian residents can also easily update personal information through their My CRA portal. Important account information like marital status and address changes can be done quickly and easily.
The address changes are an important benefit because the updates are made to your account instantly. Having the correct address on file is crucial during tax season.
This is because the address on your return must match the address the CRA has on file for you. If they don't match, you won't be able to file your taxes online via NETFILE.
Canadian residents can also auto-fill their tax returns via My CRA. With one touch of a button, the majority of the personal information you need to input into your tax return is done for you automatically. This makes the process of filing your returns stress-free during tax time.
How to Register for the My CRA Account
The registration process for the My CRA account is relatively straightforward. There's nothing difficult about it. But, it does require several steps.
The process is also different for individuals and businesses. Individuals have two steps they need to complete.
Step 1: Individual Account
The first step is providing their personal information. Individuals registering for My CRA need to provide their social insurance number. They'll also need to enter their date of birth and their zip code.
As an individual, you'll also need to enter the amount you entered on one of your previous tax returns. For this reason, it helps to have a copy of your previous return handy during the registration process.
This amount is requested from the CRA as a way of verifying your identity. The line item they request from your return can vary. It also could be from the current year's return or the previous year's return.
In order to register for an online My CRA account, one of these tax returns needs to have been filed and assessed.
After providing this information, you'll be able to create a My CRA ID and password. Next, you'll create your personal security questions and answers. At this point, you'll also be able to decide if you want to have the CRA website add a "persistent cookie" to your computer.
The intention of this cookie is to give you the ability to access your My CRA account from the same computer at some point in the future. With the cookie installed, you can access your account at a later date without having to provide any further identification.
That will complete the first step of your individual My CRA registration. Once Step 1 is complete, you'll have access to limited information from your account. In order to get access to the full suite of My CRA services, and to auto-fill your return, you'll need to complete Step 2.
Step 2: Individual Account
The second step of the registration process for an individual account is entering your CRA security code.
Once you've completed step 1 of the process, you'll need to re-visit the "My Account for Individuals" portal. Once there, you'll be prompted to enter your My Account CRA user ID and password. Then you'll be asked to enter your CRA security code.
My Account for Individuals and the Benefits of Having One
As an individual, there are multiple benefits to having a CRA My Account profile. You'll be able to submit and view tax returns quickly and easily on your My Account dashboard.
You'll also have access to your status for several Canadian government programs. This includes loan applications, your Home Buyers' Plan, and your Lifelong Learning Plan.
Having an online individual account will also make filing your taxes easier than ever before. Most of your personal information can be auto-filled into your Canadian tax return with the touch of a button.
You'll also be able to retrieve CRA documents. Traditionally, these documents were only available by calling the CRA office directly or picking them up in person from your local branch office. An example of these documents is the Option C statement used in Canadian mortgage applications.
Option 1: Use a Sign-In Partner
Canadian citizens have the option to access their My Account via a third-party Sign-In Partner. These portals are separate from the traditional My Account login process. They allow Canadian citizens to use their login information for another account, like their online banking profile, to log in to their CRA My Account profile.
This is a helpful feature because it cuts down on the amount of login information you need to remember. Rather than have separate logins for banking and taxes, you can combine them for easy use.
Option 2: Use a CRA User ID and Password
Users can choose to go the traditional route and use a separate User ID and password for their CRA account. The problem with this is that it's more information that you need to hold onto. If you misplace your CRA User ID or password, you'll have to go through additional steps to retrieve this information.
You also need to make sure you have your CRA security code to access the full suite of My Account functions. Most citizens find it easier to access their My Account portal through a sign-in partner.
Option 3: Use a BC Services Card
The BC Services Card is a card issued to residents of British Columbia. The card acts as their "pass" to access Canadian government services.
Using a BC Services card as login credentials for your CRA My Account portal is a relatively new process. But, it's fairly easy to do. Residents can visit the CRA website and choose "BC Services card sign-in" right from the main page.
If you already have previous credentials for a My Account profile, you can continue to use those. The BC Services Card is just an additional option available to British Columbia residents.
My Business Account and the Benefits of Having One
Registering for a My Business account with the CRA's online portal requires the same two-step process as the individual account. Where things get a little tricky is when financial professionals need to log in to the CRA portal on behalf of their clients.
The benefits of the My Business account are that it allows employees and representatives to access the CRA portal on behalf of their employer or their clients. Business owners, partners, directors, and officers can access a wide variety of important business tax information.
Companies can see their GST/HST payroll, excise taxes, excise duties, and corporation income taxes all within the portal.
Option 1: Using a Sign-In Partner
Companies can link their CRA My Business account to their business banking information. This makes handling company taxes and payroll much easier. To do so, you'll first need to make sure your bank supports this function.
Once it does, you'll be able to log into your bank's online portal and connect your CRA My Business account. If your bank supports this integration, you should be able to navigate to the CRA My Business portal from within your online banking dashboard.
Once there, you'll need to enter your CRA User ID and password. Then, wait to receive your CRA security code. You should have access to the full suite of My Business features once you enter your CRA security code.
If you choose to have the security code delivered by email, you'll be asked to contact the CRA as well. Once that's done, you'll enter your Business Number and you should be good to go.
Option 2: Use a CRA User ID and Password
Using your CRA User ID and Password is a little different for a My Business account compared to an individual My Account. The Canadian government has recently added multi-factor authentication to make My Business safe for everyone to use.
If you ask for your CRA security code via email, you may also have to contact your local CRA office.
Represent a Client
If you're a Canadian financial professional representing a client, you'll need to enter your representative ID. This is an 8-digit number that you can locate on your notice of assessment. You'll also need to enter your zip code.
Non-resident representatives also need to enter a representative number. For them, this number is known as a non-resident representative number. After that, they need to provide their zip code and then go through the standard steps for getting a CRA User ID and password.
Using My CRA Account to the Fullest
Now you know all of the facts and features about My CRA Account. This account can be an invaluable tool for both businesses and individuals. You can stay stress-free by keeping all of your tax and banking information organized in one place.
You can even get quick access to necessary government forms. For more information on how to register for My CRA Account, or use its benefits, contact the Insurdinary team today.