By David Weedmark
The Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account is an easy, one-stop way to access and manage your tax information and correspondence with the CRA. Each year, more and more Canadians are signing up for My Account. If you haven’t registered yet, there are a lot of good reasons for doing it this year.
A Wealth of Info (Minus the Paper Clutter)
With My Account, you can get a detailed report on the status of your current tax return and receive instant notification of your assessments and reassessments. You can also apply for child benefits, and view benefits and credits online (such as the Canada child tax benefit, GST/HST credits and any other related provincial payments you’re eligible for). You can update your information online if you move or have a change in marital status.
If you’re unsure when the RRSP contribution deadline is this year, or if you need any other date that’s important for your taxes, you can find it in the “Calendar” option in My Account. In addition, you can also find your carry-forward amounts on My Account, such as unused tuition credits, past losses, business use of home expenses, and other deductions that have yearly caps yet are able to be carried forward from previous years.
When the CRA sends you a message, it appears on your My Account page. At the same time, the CRA will send a message to the email account you registered with the service, informing you that you have a new message waiting.
The best part: You don’t have to run out to buy stamps and mail a cheque to pay your taxes. You can make payments online instantly using your My Account.
Check Your Contribution Limits
A CRA My Account gives you instant access to both your RRSP and TFSA contribution information. When it comes time to make a contribution, simply log in to see how much you can still contribute — no more digging through desk drawers searching for paper forms.
Authorize a Representative
If someone helps you manage your finances, you can give him access to your My Account. After creating your account, click on the “Authorize My Representative” option and fill in the appropriate information. He’ll have instant access to the same tax information you do. You can cancel your representative’s access at any time.
Correct Past Mistakes
Suppose you’re cleaning out your wallet and discover a receipt from two years ago for something you could have used as a tax deduction. With My Account, you can click the “Change my return” option and provide the CRA with the missing information. This saves you from having to download, print and fill out a Form T1-ADJ, “T1 Adjustment Request,” or submitting a hand-written letter explaining the error. The CRA lets you correct past mistakes for up to three years after the date on your Notice of Assessment. If you discover a mistake from this year’s taxes, wait until you receive the Notice of Assessment before trying to change your return.
How to Get Started
Create an account right on the My Account page. You’ll need your social insurance number, date of birth, postal code and a copy of your last two tax returns. My Account prompts you to enter an amount from one of these returns in order to verify your identity. You’ll have limited access to your My Account at first, but after you create a user ID and a password, the CRA will mail you a security code to give you full access to all of its services.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.