The Definitive Guide to Using CRA My Account

Person typing on laptop, representing a person using CRA My Account

We have previously written an introductory piece about Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account portal, however, given the current COVID-19 health crisis and the associated benefits offered to Canadians suffering major financial losses as a result, usage of My Account has likely never been higher. Given that more Canadians than ever are or will be making use of the CRA’s online portal to apply for benefits and file tax returns, we wanted to provide an in-depth guide to using the system.

What is CRA My Account?

My Account is a secure portal that lets you file, apply for and view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your tax affairs online.

My Account is:

  • Convenient – It is available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week (see Hours of service listed below).
  • Easy to use – After registering, simply log in with your CRA user ID and password.
  • Fast – Information is up-to-the-minute and transactions are processed immediately.
  • Secure – The CRA user ID and password are just part of the security.

You can also log in with a Sign-in Partner. Sign-in partners are private sector companies, such as banking institutions, that use SecureKey technologies, which allows them to be used to access various government portals online. This option is convenient as it lets you log in with a user ID and password that you may already have and use frequently.

Individuals can use the My Account service and authorize their representatives (including accountants and employees) to access the same services on their behalf through the Represent a Client option.

Hours of Service

The CRA online services are available 21 hours a day. Due to daily maintenance activities, the services are not available for three hours a day from 3 am to 6 am EST.

The CRA online services are periodically taken offline for maintenance, during which time the services are unavailable. The following maintenance schedule is set for 2020:

  • Friday, May 8, 2020, until Monday, May 11, 2020
  • Friday, October 16, 2020, until Monday, October 19, 2020

Accessing My Account services

To create an account, you will need the following information:

  • Your social insurance number;
  • Your date of birth;
  • Your current postal code or ZIP code and;
  • Information from a recent income tax and benefit return, so have your most recent returns on hand (the line requested will vary and it could be from the current tax year or the previous one) You can create your own account by using one of three options:
    • Sign-In Partner Login/Register (see above for more details);
    • Using a CRA User ID and password; or
    • Using a BC (British Columbia) Services card

What Can I do on CRA My Account?

My Account allows you to track your tax refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments, view your RRSP limit, set up direct depositreceive email notifications, and so much more.

If you are registered with My Account, you can also use Auto-fill my return when you file online using certified tax return software. The service has also been made mobile via the MyCRA mobile app – you can securely access key parts of your tax information and manage personal details, wherever you are.

Note that after registering for My Account, you will receive a security code that must be entered before the indicated expiration date. This code enables a user to access the full list of services that My Account offers. Without it, access is limited (see chart below).

The following video created by the CRA provides a helpful overview of how to register for and begin using My Account:

 

Services in My Account

Note that the chart indicates which services require the entry of the CRA security code to access.

 

Services No Code Needed Code Required
Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)  Yes  Yes
View status of tax return  Yes  Yes
View the detailed status of a tax return  No  Yes
Notification preferences  Yes  Yes
View mail  No  Yes
Request a remittance voucher  Yes  Yes
View notice of assessment or reassessment  Yes  Yes
View detailed notice of assessment or reassessment  No  Yes
View RRSP deduction limit and TFSA contribution room  Yes  Yes
View detailed RRSP and Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)  No  Yes
View Home Buyers’ Plan and Lifelong Learning Plan  No  Yes
Pay by pre-authorized debit (create new agreement)  Yes  Yes
Pay by pre-authorized debit (manage active agreements, view inactive agreements)  No  Yes
Arrange my direct deposit (start, update, stop)  No  Yes
View carryover amounts  No  Yes
View tax information slips: T4, T4A, T4A(P), T4A(OAS), T4E, T4RSP, T4RIF, T5007, T3, T5, T5008, RRSP Contribution Receipt, T1204, T5013, RC210, RC62, Rent Assist and tax-free savings account (TFSA)  No  Yes
View Proof of income statement (option ‘C’ print)  No  Yes
View disability tax credit  No  Yes
View account balance and statement of account  No  Yes
Change my return  No  Yes
Address and telephone numbers (view, update)  No  Yes
Apply for child benefits  No  Yes
Benefits and credits overview  No  Yes
View Canada Child Benefit and related provincial and territorial programs payments, account balance, and statement of account  No  Yes
View GST/HST credit and related provincial programs payments, account balance, and statement of account  No  Yes
View Universal Child Care Benefit payments, account balance, and statement of account  No  Yes
View and update children in my care  No  Yes
View Working Income Tax Benefit advance payments  No  Yes
Submit documents  No  Yes
View authorized representative  No  Yes
Authorize my representative  No  Yes
Register my formal dispute  No  Yes
View instalments  No  Yes
Change my marital status  No  Yes
Personal Identification Number (PIN)  No  Yes
Online preferences  No  Yes
Request relief of penalties and interest  No  Yes
Open a non-resident account  No  Yes
Audit enquiries  No  Yes
File a GST/HST rebate  No  Yes
Request a CPP/EI ruling  No  Yes
Canada Workers benefit advance payments application  No  Yes
Uncashed cheques  No  Yes

Applying for CERB Through My Account

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a financial assistance option being offered to individuals in Canda suffering financial hardship due to job loss or unavailability during COVID-19. The benefit pays qualified applicants the equivalent of $500/week (or $2,000/month) for any 16-week period while the program is in force. The program was originally set to expire in June, however, it has been extended to September 26th.

To qualify for the CERB, an applicant must:

  • Be a resident of Canada and at least 15 years of age,
  • Have earned at least $5,000 in the 12-month period preceding the application date,
  • Have ceased to work for reasons relating to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days within the four-week period for which they are applying for the CERB (note that workers who quit their job are ineligible), and
  • Receiving an income of less than $1,000 per month during the benefit period.

Due to the high demand for assistance, My Account will allow applicants to apply for CERB on certain days, based on birth month, as follows:

Birthday Month Application Day
January, February or March Mondays
April, May or June Tuesdays
July, August or September Wednesdays
October, November or December Thursdays

For more information about qualifying and applying for CERB, see this page.

Lesser-Known Services Offered by My Account

Unclaimed CRA Refund Cheques

A little-known feature on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website can lead people to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in unclaimed government cheques. The recently released tool, found in the My Account portal, allows you to view and collect any cheques you may have missed from the tax agency, dating back as long as you have been filing taxes.

As Government cheques never expire or stale-date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and reissue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer.” Under “related services,” found on the right-hand side of your browser, you will see an option titled “uncashed cheques” at the bottom of the list. From here, you’ll be able to check to see if you have any cheques that have been left uncashed for six months or more. After filling out a secure form, you’ll have your money.

Tax schemes

A new section on the Overview page called “Tax Schemes” directs users to a new page where they can learn about tax schemes and how to avoid them. This is increasingly important in an age when many Canadians are contacted by fraudsters impersonating CRA officials on a regular basis.

Home Buyers’ Plan / Lifelong Learning Plan

On the Overview page, participants in these plans will be given high-level information about their Home Buyers’ Plan account and Lifelong Learning Plan account, allowing them to easily track when a payment is due.

Canada workers benefit advance payments

Eligible individuals can submit their Canada workers benefit advance payments application online in My Account and receive up to 50% of their benefit as an advance payment. This application will be available until August 31, 2020.

Proceed to pay buttons

The “Pay by Pre-authorized debit” button has been replaced with a “Proceed to pay” button. The new button directs users to payment options for paying their account balance owing. The button is also part of the T1 instalments section of the Accounts and payments tab, and it lets individuals make an instalment payment.

Request for relief of penalties and interest

There is a new service called “Request for relief of penalties and interest” located under “Related services.” This service gives you access to an online web form you can complete to send an interest and penalty relief request to the Canada Revenue Agency.

GST/HST rebates

Individuals and businesses can file Form GST 189, General Application for Rebate of GST/HST, using My Account and My Business Account, respectively.

We hope that this in-depth overview is helpful. If you wish to become more familiar with the CRA My Account and to use it to your full advantage, please contact the Chartered Professional Accountants at Edelkoort Smethurst Schein CPAs LLP by calling 905-517-2297, or contacting us online.