November 11th 2011

"My Account" - A welcome new service from the CRA

It’s not often we get to describe the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as proactive and user-friendly. But those terms certainly apply to the feature on their website called “My Account”. If you’ve never used this feature, you’ll be surprised to find out just how much information is available here.

For example, let’s say that, for some reason, you haven’t yet received an assessment from your 2010 tax return filing. My Account can give you the most up-to-date information available on the status of your return – the on-line information is available well in advance of what you will eventually receive in the mail.

But this service goes far beyond providing you with information about your current tax return. Here, you can check your RRSP contribution history as well as the calculation of your deduction room all the way back to 1991. If you’re currently participating in the Home Buyers’ Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan, you can see how much you’ve withdrawn in total, your previous annual repayments, any cancellations or income inclusions as well as the amount you still owe and the repayment you have to make for the current year. Similarly, a section on TFSAs summarizes all your transactions and shows you how much contribution room you have available.

You can also use My Account to set up or change direct deposit of tax refunds and benefit cheques as well as pre-authorized payment plans for instalment payments. If you disagree with an assessment or reassessment issued by CRA, you can even use My Account to formally register a dispute. Just remember that this has to be done within a certain time frame - the later of: one year after the date the relevant return is due, or 90 days after the date that CRA mailed the notice of assessment or the notice of determination.

And if you really don’t want to get this intimately involved with CRA, you can use My Account to authorize us to deal with them on your behalf.

In order to use My Account, you need to create a user ID and password, and answer a series of security questions. CRA will then send you a security code by snail mail that will provide full access to your account. While you’re waiting for Canada Post to deliver, you can use the Quick Access tab to check information such as your RRSP deduction limit, your TFSA contribution room, and the status of any benefit payments you may be entitled to receive from CRA. Services are available almost 24/7 – they shut down from 3:00 am to 6:00 am EST for maintenance.

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