How To Open A CRA My Account In 2020? (Helpful Illustrated Guide)

Last updated on March 29th, 2020 at 05:32 pm

CRA stands for the Canada Revenue Agency. Every Canadian Resident is bound to have or open a new CRA Account as part of the norm. If you are new to Canada or finding difficulties opening a new account, please don’t worry, I’m here to help! Please follow the exact steps and guidelines mentioned here (have pasted the screenshots too for every step) and you should be good to go!

In this article, I will guide you through the exact step-by-step process so that by the end of this article, you should be pretty clear on opening a new CRA My Account. If you have any questions please let me know in the comment section below and I’ll answer then as soon possible. Alright then let’s get started. 

Let’s begin by understanding who the CRA is and what they actually do?

Who Are The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? 

For all the Newbies to Canada and the term CRA, CRA stands for the “Canada Revenue Agency”.

The Canada Revenue Agency or CRA is a Canadian federal agency that regulates tax laws for the Canadian government and for most provinces and territories.  

All the tax deductions that are withheld from an employee’s Gross pay, such as federal and provincial income tax, CPP contributions and EI premiums, are sent to the CRA and then dispersed to the appropriate government department.  

The CRA also monitors compliance on behalf of governments across Canada.

CRA’s head office is located in Ottawa and it is divided up into five regions for administrative purposes – Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie, and Pacific. Each region contains tax services offices that carry out a variety of duties, such as audits and collections.

cra my account - 1

CRA My Account Services 

Now that we know about the CRA and who they are, let’s dive down a bit deeper into the topic of discussion here – CRA My Account Services and how to open one. 

My Account is the online service available via the Canada Revenue Agency’s website where you can access your personal (individual) or business income tax (example – small business owners or business owners) information securely.

Opening a new Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Account and getting your CRA access code is pretty easy and straight-forward.

You can definitely make your life easier with tension-free access to your tax returns and benefits – including childcare payments, CPP information? Consider registering for a CRA My Account today – Its a must to if you’re planning to reside and stay in Canada.

Benefits Of Registering To The CRA My Account Services Online

CRA My Account Services are useful for one and all. If you reside in Canada, then I’m sure you’ll need a CRA Account. There is no second thought to it or should I say it is mandatory to open one. 

First of all, let’s divide the CRA benefits into two categories – Individual or Personal Accounts (used majorly by individuals) and second Business Account Owners. 

Apart from that, the online CRA services are pretty much always available and can be accessed for the most part of the days and seven days a week. This makes it a much easier way to obtain your important information.

Trust me logging in online is way better than having to call the CRA and waiting to speak to a representative.

Online CRA services are very good and useful. You have all the information in the digital format ready. Unless you’ll have to call the CRA toll free number for some technical system issues.

The information and benefits you can access directly via your My Services Account will vary depending on the type of account.

A quick point to note here is – In case you did not know – CRA My Account undergoes a daily maintenance schedule which is usually for a couple of minutes at some part of the day.

CRA Individual Account 

In this section, I will list the individual account benefits available online by logging into your CRA My Account (for individuals).

Benefits Of The CRA Individual Account 

Now, this is a long list of 22 features and benefits you’ll get by registering and accessing the CRA My Account. Please go through the complete list as its very useful to know and be aware of.

There are tons of other useful benefits as well, but I’ve just considered the important ones here which you should be aware of. 

1. You can view or print your Income Tax Return (ITR) statements and a notice of assessment copies (current or any of the previous years)

2. You will be able to view or print your tax information including T4, T4A, T4A (P), T4E, T4 (OAS), T5 and more. In case you don’t know what these forms are for – please learn more about it. It’ll be useful to you in everyday tax information. T4’s are usually issued by your employer around February every year before filing taxes. 

3. By logging into your CRA account, you can make changes to your individual tax return online

4. Using the CRA Account, you will be able to track your tax refund and when you will get it

5. You can also apply for and view your child benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which is an important financial benefit in case you have kids and income is mediocre. Using the CRA My Account, you will be able to know the CCB amount, that you’ll receive every month just by logging in to CRA. 

6. You’ll be able to check your RRSP deduction limit and TFSA contribution room available for the year. Again these are pretty big topics that’ll probably need separate articles

7. If you are planning to buy a new home in the near future, by logging into the CRA you’ll be able to view the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and Lifelong Learning Plan statements

8. You can log in to the CRA account and view your online emails or notifications from CRA 

9. You’ll be able to view the Climate action incentive payment (which was newly Introduced in 2019)

10. By logging into your CRA account, you can view the GST/HST credit payments – which are usually paid out every quarter of the year

11. Other important benefits of using the CRA online is, in case you are disabled you’ll be able to apply for the Disability Tax Credit application which is available online and newly Introduced from 2019 onwards

12. Also, you can update your personal information such as your address, phone number, marital status, and banking information and keep it up to date with the Government records

13. All your proof of income or POI statements can now be opened in the PDF Format which is really time-saving

14. In case you have any issues/discrepancies about your EI (Employment Insurance) payments or the refunds part of it, you can request a CPP or EI ruling online 

15. Now this one’s pretty big, by logging into your CRA account you can file for a GST or HST rebate online

16. CRA has newly introduced the “Auto-fill my return” service when filing your tax return. This will help you file taxes on your own without much help. 

17. In case you get a mail from CRA asking for proof or photocopies, you can do so and submit the documents to the CRA online

18. Apply for direct deposit to your bank account online so that your tax refunds, EI payments or CPP will be sent directly to your bank account instead of cheque deposits (Time saving and easy)

20. You can also view your CRA account balance and statement of account by using the CRA account

21. By logging in online to the CRA My Account services – you’ll be able to set up a payment plan if owing taxes, instead of one lump sum amount which is usually hard on anyone

22. Finally, if you need help accessing the CRA services, you can also authorize a representative for managing and taking care of your CRA Individual Account services. 

How To Claim Uncashed Cheques From The CRA My Account?

You might be surprised to see that you have a couple of uncashed cheques in your “CRA My Account”. But, hold on a second here, why do you have the uncashed cheques in the first place, that too from the CRA? Why dint you know this earlier?

There are several reasons you may have an uncashed cheque from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

For example – you might have moved out and not updated your address in the CRA database (CRA my account page), few other valid reasons can be that the payments were issued earlier due to the system-generated error/mistake. The reason can also be that the cheque issued might be lost, stolen, or destroyed. Whatever be the reason, the good news is, you are getting your money and it’s yours to claim proudly. All you have to do is log in to your CRA My account and follow the steps detailed below:

One quick point to note here is that the CRA cheques never come with an expiry or become outdated. You can deposit the cheques anytime for free in any of the nationalized Canadian banks for free.

Here’s how To check If you have any uncashed cheques in the CRA:

1. Go To the CRA My Account login page. Click on the individual account sign-on link

cra my account

2. Once you log in successfully, you should see your “My Account Overview” page.

3. Under “Related Services” (on the right-hand side), do look out for the link which says “Uncashed cheques”. It is the last link under the “Related Services” section.

4. Click on the link “Uncashed cheques”

5. That’s it. You should be able to see all the unclaimed and uncashed CRA cheques here on this page. For me, the message is “You have no uncashed cheques from the Canada Revenue Agency.”

CRA uncashed cheque

To avoid all these confusions and delays, it’s always better to receive all the CRA benefits and payments on time.

Do yourself a favour and register for online banking with CRA. Here’s what the CRA says – “Sign up for a direct deposit to have future payment(s) deposited into your bank account.” It hardly takes a couple of minutes to add your bank account to CRA and it saves so much of a headache for you in receiving all the payments on time and in one place. For example – CCB, Tax refunds, GST/HST Credit, OTB Benefit amounts, or any other benefits payments you are eligible for. Bow, Isn’t that easy and convenient for you having everything in one place.

CRA Business Account Benefits

If you are a small business owner or a business owner in general, the CRA my account allows you to access lots of useful information relating to your business including:

1. Tax returns for GST/HST

2. Business payroll deductions

3. Corporate income taxes

4. Excise duty

5. Excise tax

6. Information returns and lots more

How To Register For A New CRA Individual Account? 

First of all, it is extremely easy to sign up for the CRA Account. Make sure you have the pre-requisites ready before actually filling out the CRA registration form (I’ve mentioned the list of documents below).

There are two options when it comes to registering for a new CRA My Account – 

1. First Option For The CRA Registration

Keep the following documents ready – 

  • Your social insurance number [SIN number]

  • Your date of birth is required (No Documents only DOB details)

  • Postal code is required (Just the postal code where you reside)

  • Your last two tax returns – for the current year and the previous one. You will be required to enter an amount from one of these returns. But don’t worry in case your new to Canada or haven’t filed your taxes yet. We have all been there and it’s ok without it. 

When you have the above information ready, proceed to the CRA My Account page. 

1. Navigate to the “CRA My Account” registration page – Click here to access the link

cra my account

 

2. Next, Click On the “CRA Register” button on the CRA My Account Login page

cra my account

3. Now, enter your Social Insurance Number (SIN number), and click on the Next button

sin number

4. Next, you’ll need to “Validate your Identity” by completing all the required fields – Postal Code, Date Of Birth, Tax Information from previous year tax return (if you have). 

cra my account

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet or new to Canada without a Tax Return yet, no need to worry. You need to enter “0” in the Tax information field. 

After filling out all these details correctly click on the Next button.

5. On the next page, Create a “CRA User ID” and “Password”

Make sure you write it down in a safe and secure place. You’ll need these login credentials for as long you are in Canada.  

After entering the CRA user ID and password, you are required to create a couple of security questions and answers on the next screen. Be careful while creating the security questions and answers – As long you are in Canada, you’ll be eligible to have only one CRA account and its very important you don’t lose access to the information you provide here! These questions are part of recovering your CRA access, in case you lost your CRA ID or password. 

Say tomorrow for whatever the reason be, if you forget your CRA ID or Password – or you need to call CRA for some tax enquiries, you are required to answer the security questions.

Also, do remember the exact way you entered the security question answers – I mean the caps and small letters. 

6. Hurray! Your CRA My Account is now registered and created. It’s now ready to log in and access the page. However, note that you can access only a limited and certain tax information on your CRA My Account at this moment.

For full and complete access to your CRA My Account, CRA will be mailing you via Canada Post a security code which you will need to enter online when prompted after log-in. The mail might take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to arrive depending on your region. 

Once you have completed this step, you will only need your CRA user ID and password to access your complete account features. 

cra my account - 2

2. Second Option For The CRA Registration (Which is Actually Easier Compared To First)

A second option to access your “CRA My Account” is to use a CRA Sign-in Partner.

For this option, you’ll need to log in via one of the CRA’s trusted financial institutions. Once you select and click on the financial institution (usually your bank) – Log in using your existing financial institution’s credentials – such as CIBC or TD Bank. You’ll be redirected to the bank’s login screen and upon successful login, you’ll be through to the CRA’s welcome screen. 

cra my account

I have already mentioned this in the first option; you’ll be required to have your social insurance number, date of birth, postal code and last two tax returns (just in case) readily available.

The CRA security access code will be mailed to you as well to enable full access to the “My Account” services

Once you get the access code, log in as usual through the Sign-in Partner and enter the security code when prompted. You should now have full access.

Why Do You Need A CRA My Business Account?

If you are a business owner in Canada or planning to start a new business, you’ll need a business account first. Before you can register for the business account, you need to have the business account number (which is 9 digits numeric).

By enrolling for the CRA My Business Account you can perform the following business activities:

1. GST/HST Payments – You will eventually have to pay the GST/HST taxes as part of your business. In order to do so, you need the business account to pay the GST/HST taxes to the Government Of Canada.

2. Payroll Deductions – You are running a business and have employees to pay for, therefore you need a CRA Business account number/business account to pay your employees and payroll deductions.

3. Pay for the Export/Import Items – If your business is all about export/imports such as a beer, wine, arts and crafts etc., you’ll have to pay taxes to the Canadian Government using your CRA my business account. Also, there’s the excise duty tax that you’ll pay for beer/wine imports using the business account.

4. As a Canadian business owner, you’ll have to pay the Corporate Business Taxes, for this you need a business account.

5. Fuel Charge – In order to file or claim the fuel charges, you need to enrol for the CRA My business account

6. Registered Charity Services – Again, as a business firm you need to contribute to charities in your neighbourhood or elsewhere, you can do so and claim tax benefits through the “CRA My Business Account”.

7. Make Contract payments – If you have contract employees working for your firm, and if they are not incorporated, you as a firm need to pay the taxes. In order to do so, you need to register for the “CRA My Business Account.

If you want to see the complete list of benefits and features of the CRA My Business Account head over to this link here.

Hey did you know – Keeping aside the business number, which is like the base of the pizza, there are several business programs under it. Confusing? Don’t be.

What Is A CRA Business Number?

The CRA Business Number or BN is a unique 9-digit number provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Your business number is your official CRA tax ID. Every business number is unique and is used when dealing with the federal, provincial, or local governments for tax purposes.

What Is A Business Program Account?

There are 5 business program accounts in Canada. Each business program account is a 15 digit alphanumeric number that contains the “Business Number” as the base (first 9 characters), the business number is then followed by a two-letter identifier for the business program. For example – RT in-case of GST/HST, RM if its import or export business and RP in case of payroll deductions and RZ in the case of Information return. Now, that’s the first 11 digits for you. The last four digits of the business program number is the reference number for the specific account type.

What Are The CRA Business Account Types?

Now that you know what the Business Program Accounts are, let’s look at the different business account types under the CRA.

There are five major CRA business account programs types and they are:

1. RT – Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax
2. RP – Payroll
3. RC – Corporate Income Tax
4. RM – Import/Export
5. RZ – Information Return

Source – Canada.ca

You can only add programs to your business account, provided you already have an active business account.

At a glance, the basic business account is “9” digits which you need to get from the Canada Revenue Agency or the CRA.

Every program you enrol into is usually 15 digits long as we discussed in the previous sections.

How To Open A CRA Business Account?

First of all, you’ll need to have an active CRA Account (at least a personal/individual account). Having an active CRA account is mandatory to open a business account.

You have two options to register for the business account

1. Register for a CRA Business Account using a “Sign-In Partner”
2. Register for a CRA Business Account using “your existing CRA account credentials”

Let’s look at both the options here:

1. Register for a CRA Business Account using a “Sign-In Partner”

1. Click on the link here and go to the first option and click on the “Sign-In Partner Login/Register” green button.

2. Select your “Sign-In Partner” from the available options. For example, if you bank with CIBC, select CIBC. You have other options too such as TD Bank, Tangerine, Scotiabank, BMO and RBC. Select the bank you deal with and click on continue.

CRA Business Account

3. Next, you will re-directed to the bank’s sign-on page. Here, enter your debit card number and the banking password.

4. After you have successfully “signed-on”, you’ll be redirected back to the CRA’s “Terms and conditions of use for My Business Account” page. Accept the terms and conditions and click on the “I Agree” button at the bottom of the page.

5. Now, you have to enter your 9 digit business number. Every business number is unique to a business or legal entity. To get the 9 digit business/legal entity number you need to contact the CRA (I’ve mentioned the number below or visit any of the Service Canada centers)

6. Once you enter your valid business number – Its a cakewalk from here, you just have to continue entering all the required and mandatory fields the system prompts at and that’s it, you’re done! Easy Peasy. You are done registering your CRA business account. Congratulations!

2. Register For A CRA Business Account using “your existing CRA account”

Let’s look at option 2 here. In order to do this, you need to have valid CRA Individual credentials or a Personal Account. If you haven’t done this yet, please complete this and come to this section.

1. First, to begin, click on the link here and go to the second option, click on the “CRA Login” green button.

2. Then, log in to the “CRA My account” using your valid credentials.

3. Next, you will be taken to the “Terms and Conditions” Page. Scroll down the page to the bottom and accept the “Terms and Conditions”. Click On the “I Agree” button.

4. Then you will be taken to the CRA Business Account registration page, where you need to enter your valid 9 digits business/legal entity number. Make sure the number you enter is valid. In case you have any questions about the business number you are about to enter, don’t forget to call CRA Business Enquiries number at 1-800-959-5525.

5. Once you enter the valid business number, it should pretty much be a breeze from here. Fill in all the mandatory fields of your business/legal entity and you will be done. Hurray! You’ve just created yourself a brand new “CRA My Business Account”. Congratulations!

That’s it, you now know how to register your CRA My Business Account.

CRA Hours Of Service

CRA online services are available for almost 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).

How To Contact The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? 

Before you contact the CRA for any of the issues or concerns, make sure you have this information handy:

1. Your Social Insurance Number (SIN Number)

2. Your Month and Year Of Birth (YOB)

3. The Total Income you entered on line 150 of your 2019 tax return

Also, make sure that you know the right service you are calling for. Below is the list of helpful contact numbers by CRA. You can call the toll free CRA number – 1 (800) 959-8281. 

Conclusion

There you go, that was the detailed article on how to register and open a new CRA Personal Account and Business Account. 

Hope this article was helpful to you. I’ve mentioned everything in detail – just so that its useful to one and all.

By now you should be familiar with how to create and access your CRA My Account and logging in to see your benefits and other useful CRA features!

If you found this article useful, share this content on social media and help spread the word. Also if you have any questions or need more clarity on something – Please leave your thoughts and comments below. 

Top 10 Popular Posts Of All Time

CRA My Account

5

Value For Money

5.0/5

Benefits

5.0/5

Rewards

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Pros

  • Easy and Quick To Register
  • Tons of useful benefits using the CRA website
  • If you are a business owner, register for the CRA My Account for Business

Cons

  • CRA My Account is down 3 hours a day, usually in the midnight for maintenance, so you might not be able to access the services then
  • You need to have a couple of documents ready before registration
  • To gain complete and full access to you CRA My Account - you'll have to wait for the personal access code which will take 1-2 weeks to arrtive

Sagar Sridhar

Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger and a computer engineer. He is agile certified and has a master's degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in leading publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. "Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing" - Warren Buffet

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CathyP
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CathyP

Thanks so much for the concise guide! The other resources I have are all so confusing

Jonathon
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Jonathon

The auto fill return is so helpful.. I used to spend so much time doing my taxes! Everyone should read this, whether they are working, retiring or just starting to work.

Martin
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Martin

Thank you for this guide for opening a CRA account and I’m glad it’s updated for 2020. I see they made a few changes (I think) since the last time I’ve been on the site. I’ve also tried contacting the Canada Revenue Agency a few times and get placed on hold forever (anyone else experience this too??). I’m happy I can setup an account online.

Tim
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Tim

Thanks for the heads up about gathering the documents before signing up for a CRA account!

Scott
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Scott

You make it so easy 😀 Now why can’t the CRA site be this thorough and concise 😀 Looking forward to your future guides!

Eva
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Eva

Had no idea the CRA office was in Ottawa. Anywho, great guide, and I’m glad it’s updated.

SabrinaTarn
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SabrinaTarn

No I’m so clear on exactly what I need to prepare in order to get started, cheers!

Marmaduke
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Marmaduke

I was at a tax service office the other day and it’s safe to say this guide is a lot more helpful than they were!

Tarzolo
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Tarzolo

Great tip for security questions, I once forgot to remember the capitalization of my answer and got it wrong just because of that

Rushikesh Joshi
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Rushikesh Joshi

Hi Sagar,

Thank you so much for writing this detailed article. It was really helpful and got much more clarity now as to what exactly needs to be done for registration for My Account.

Thanks once again.

Rushi

Rahul
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Rahul

I tried registering a new my CRA account and I was able to create a user id and password but whenever I try to login using that, it asks me to validate the SIN . But even after entering the SIN, it shows an error message. Kindly advise on what to do. I have been calling the CRA number for a couple of days now but with no luck. I urgently need to have it set up since I need to apply for the EI benefits.

Nosmada
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Nosmada

I am new to Canada. I started working I. Feb 14 but stopped after a month. I tried to register for a CRA account but it said ERROR after I typed in my SIN. It was asking for the amount from the previous tax returns but there was nothing on the page to fill that out.
Thank you for the answer.

Barbara Urbina
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Barbara Urbina

Hello Sagar, thank you very much for this information, it’s very helpful indeed. I’m actually having an issue similar to Rahul’s. I’m stuck in step 1. The system is asking me for my SIN number and it gives me an error message when I introduce it. I haven’t been able to move past it. I was wondering, is there a certain way your SIN number needs to be introduced, a format? With or without the dashes? Do I need to type in the whole 9 digits or…? Thank you very much again.

Marietoni Daquigan
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Marietoni Daquigan

Hi. I guess i have the same problem. im stucked at step no.1 which is entering the SIN because after entering my SIN it would say Error. We need to verify your personal information. Contact us for help. Then i called for help but i was just asked if i have filed tax refund before then i said i filed for the first time because i was just new in here like it is my first year. Then they answered i need to wait for my notice of assessment to arrive. I believe my tax refund cheque will arrive at… Read more »

Evelyne Verna Armstrong
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Evelyne Verna Armstrong

Good morning. Today’s date is Friday, April 3, 2020. I have been trying for several months to set up a CRA My Account for Individuals but lines were always busy, often I was disconnected when I did get a ring and asked to hold for 20 minutes. I had a CRA My Account a few years ago but when my company and personal life was hacked, I shut down all online accounts and have not had one since but have tried to get at least a CRA My Account for a long time. Today I tried again several times, started… Read more »