The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) continues to offer more and more services online. Business owners, accountants and other individuals can enter the online portal through an account login at the CRA website to transact almost all of their business with the agency. Simply sign up with the CRA to take full advantage of this service. You can also contact the agency through various departments specializing in the assistance you need.
Business Accounts With the CRA
As a business owner, a CRA business account provides you with the capacity to access a number of your accounts with the CRA, interact with the tax authorities and generally ensure all of your business information is up-to-date. You can access payroll, corporation income taxes, excise taxes and excise duties accounts. Except in Québec, where Revenue Quebec administers the GST/HST, you also have access to your GST/HST account.
Use the portal to perform just about any task you want for your tax accounts. File a tax return, view expected and filed returns, adjust a return, file a rebate request, file and view elections, and get your account balance and activities. The My Business Account feature also allows you to manage and view your direct deposit transactions and instalment payments. My Business Account is available seven days a week, 21 hours per day. The agency takes the service offline for a three-hour break overnight for maintenance activity.
The CRA also has a mobile app for Canadian business owners to use. Called MyBenefits, this app offers you access to the same basic services you get through your business account, only through a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The connection is secure, so you don’t have to worry about intrusions into your private data when working on your phone.
How Do You Access the Portal?
To get access, first register for a CRA ID and password if you don’t have one already. You also need to know your Business Number. The CRA partners with a number of major Canadian financial institutions called sign-in partners. This allows you to sign in to the portal using the same ID and password as your bank account to access My Business Account.
Depending on the size of your business, you may not be the person who actually prepares and files the returns on a day-to-day basis. If that’s the case, you can give representatives acting on your behalf, whether employees or an outside accountant, access to your accounts. There are various ways to give access to different people, depending on whether they are outside professionals or internal employees.
At any time, you can change the level of authorization for existing representatives or revoke authorizations altogether. You can do this using the authorize or manage representatives service in My Business Account. Online authorization updates take effect immediately or on the effective date you choose. If you don’t want to handle this online, you can send Form RC59 to your local tax office.
The My Business Account feature is a great way to simplify your interactions with the CRA. As a small business owner, you can enjoy the convenience of being able to attend to your tax matters outside of regular business hours.
How to Contact the CRA for Tax Information
If you’re an accountant with personal clients or you just need tax help for your small business, you may want to take advantage of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS). This free service provides information on a variety of tax issues. As of 2018, the phone number is 1-800-267-6999, and you can give this number to your clients or even use it for your personal tax questions. Note that if you’re a business owner with tax questions, you have a separate number to call.
Through TIPS, your clients can get information on the amount of their tax refunds and when the refunds are expected to arrive. Your customers can also find out about Canadian child benefits and GST/HST tax credits. If you have clients who want to maximize their retirement plan contributions, they may want to use this number to determine their annual contribution allowance for their registered retirement savings accounts. Individuals can also request remittance vouchers and proof of income statements through the Tax Information Phone Service.
Before they call, your clients should have their Social Insurance Number, date of birth and the total income entered on line 150 of one of their previous two years of returns handy. The service uses that information to verify a caller’s identity.
TIPS is not designed for businesses, and as a bookkeeper or accountant, you cannot call this number on behalf of your clients. If you need to access information on behalf of your clients, you may want to use the CRA’s Represent a Client online portal. If your business clients want to access their own information, they may want to check out My Business Account. TIPS can be a useful resource for basic questions on benefits or tax refunds. Keep this number handy so you can refer individual clients as needed.
The CRA’s Business Help Line
The CRA’s business help line phone number is 1-800-959-5525. This portal offers assistance specifically for corporations, sole proprietorships, partnerships, and non-resident corporations and corporation accounts. Call this number for more information about payroll deductions, GST/HST issues, excise taxes and business accounts. If you have trouble getting into your online portal as a business owner, this is the number to call.
When you contact the CRA, having all of your information in one place makes it easy to discuss your tax situation or business issue with the agency, whether you are about to file your taxes or need assistance with tracking expenses and income. That’s why software such as QuickBooks comes through with an intuitive interface that keeps all of your data in one place behind a secure password. This type of software saves you time, money and effort so you can focus on profits. QuickBooks Online can help you maximize your tax deductions. Keep more of what you earn today.