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How to Register CRA Online Accounts

Running a successful small business means learning to wear several hats. As an entrepreneur, your job includes everything from visionary to marketer to bookkeeper. When it comes to taking charge of your taxes, registering for a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) online account can help make tax reporting a little less painful. In this article, we’ll be going over everything that business owners need to know about using the CRA online services registration process.

Let’s start by looking at some commonly asked questions that you might have about registering CRA online accounts.

Is a CRA business number the same as a GST number?

When you register for a GST/HST account with the CRA, you will receive a business number (BN). Your GST/HST account number is a part of your business number.

How do I get a CRA business number?

You can receive a CRA business number by using Business Registration Online or by registering for one of the following options:

  • GST/HST program account
  • Payroll deductions program account
  • Import-export program account
  • Corporation income tax program account
  • Registered charity program account
  • Information returns

Besides registering online, you can submit your CRA registration using mail, fax, or phone.

How do I get a CRA security code?

Once you have completed the online business registration process, you will receive a CRA security code with an expiry date, which will be sent by mail. When you receive your security code, you can log in to CRA online as usual and simply enter the security code when you are prompted to do so.

Now that you have some answers to your burning questions, it’s time to look at exactly what you need to do in order to set up your CRA business account. There are two types of online accounts available: My Account, for individuals or sole proprietors, and My Business Account, for Canadian businesses that are incorporated or file GST/HST. Here’s an overview of each CRA account and how to register.

CRA My Account

Sole proprietors will benefit from signing up with CRA My Account. The online account lets you manage your personal tax information, summarizing your account balance for amounts owed, as well as your TFSA and RRSP contribution limits. You can also change your personal information (e.g. marital status, home address), view government benefits and credits, and file a GST/HST rebate.

How to set up CRA My Account online

Setting up My Account on the CRA website is simple and straightforward. Before you start, make sure you have the following personal information handy:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Date of birth
  • Current address
  • Copy of your most recent tax return

Step 1: Visit the CRA website

Visit the CRA website and click on the link under either option 1 or 2. There are two ways to register and access your tax information:

  • Option 1: Sign-In Partner Login (includes financial institutions such as your bank)
  • Option 2: Create a CRA user ID and password.

Step 2: Enter your tax return line-item

You’ll need to enter one of the line amounts from your recent tax return. The line number can vary, so it’s important to have your return on hand.

Step 3: Review security questions

Next, you’ll be prompted to select and answer five security questions from a drop down menu.

Step 4: Enter the security code sent to you from CRA

The CRA will mail a security code to your home address, which usually takes between 5-10 business days to arrive. Once you’ve received your log-on code, you can access your My Account online.

CRA My Business Account

If your business is incorporated or files GST/HST, then My Business Account is for you. As well as viewing Corporate Income Tax, My Business Account lets you manage your payroll, file a return, view account balances and manage direct debit. You can also file or adjust a GST/HST return and check your account balances. Other services include authorizing access for representatives, such as an accountant, the ability to submit documents in electronic form, and filing Excise tax returns.

How to set up CRA My Business Account online

The information required to set up My Business Account is the same as My Account. You’ll need:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Date of birth
  • Current address
  • Copy of your most recent tax return

Step 1: Visit the CRA website

Visit the CRA website to register for a My Business Account. You will need your personal information handy in order to register. Create a CRA user ID and password.

Step 2: Log in with your Business Number or via a sign-in partner

To access your My Business Account online, you’ll need your Business Number (BN). You can also access your My Business Account through a sign-in partner.

Step 3: Review security questions

The website will prompt you to set up five security questions from a drop-down menu. You will then be prompted to enter your BN.

Step 4: Enter the security code sent to you from CRA

You’ll also need a security code from CRA to access My Business Account. You can choose to have your CRA code mailed to your mailing address on record, or it can be sent by email. After you receive the code, you’ll need to contact the CRA to complete your registration.

What if I am representing a client?

There are a number of reasons that you may need to act as a representative for a client when registering a CRA business account. For example, if your business provides tax or payroll services to your clients, part of your services may include CRA online registration on behalf of your clients. Alternatively, you might simply be an individual who is helping a friend or family member, or you are the legal guardian, executor, or power of attorney for someone who needs to register for a CRA online account.

In order to represent a client and register for a CRA account on someone else’s behalf, you’ll need to create a CRA user ID and password or login with a Sign-in Partner, just as you would for your own CRA registration. Use your business number to register, and you’ll receive either a representative identifier (RepID) or a group identifier (GroupID). Once you’ve received this information, you’ll need to obtain authorization from the individual you are registering on behalf of. This authorization will usually be submitted as a signed and dated certification page from the client you are representing.

Tax time can be a headache for many entrepreneurs. Take control of your business and finances by opening a CRA online account.