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 deposit, receive 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|
|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|
|View authorized representative||No||Yes|
|Authorize my representative||No||Yes|
|Register my formal dispute||No||Yes|
|Change my marital status||No||Yes|
|Personal Identification Number (PIN)||No||Yes|
|Request relief of penalties and interest||No||Yes|
|Open a non-resident account||No||Yes|
|File a GST/HST rebate||No||Yes|
|Request a CPP/EI ruling||No||Yes|
|Canada Workers benefit advance payments application||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.
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.
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 ESS CPAs LLP by calling 905-517-2297, or contacting us online.