By Rob Cosman, Partner, Jones & Cosman Chartered Professional Accountants
My Business Account is a secure online portal that allows business owners or their representatives to engage with the Canada Revenue Agency online. Not all businesses need a My Business Account, but in many cases, the service can be indispensable.
Benefits of a My Business Account
Using My Business Account, you may file tax returns for GST/HST, corporate income tax, payroll deductions, and a full range of other business-related taxes. You may also view filed returns and make changes to old returns. If you expect a rebate, you may check on the status of the rebate or adjust it, and you may add or delete bank accounts for direct deposits as necessary.
If you have a dispute on payroll source deductions or corporate income tax, you may register the dispute online, and also calculate quarterly instalments for corporate income tax using My Business Account. All of this can be done safely and conveniently online. You don’t have to travel anywhere, spend time waiting on the phone, or wait in lines at the post office. Rather, you simply create an account, sign in, and take care of tax-related issues as needed.
If you own a business or are a partner, director, or officer of a business, you may use My Business Account. Authorized representatives can also use the service, but they must access it through Represent a Client.
How to Create an Account
To create a My Business Account, you need a business number (BN). If you don’t have a BN, you may apply for one online using Business Registration Online. Alternatively, you may complete Form RC1, Request for a Business Number and mail it to the CRA. Finally, you may call the CRA and answer the questions that appear on Form RC1 over the phone. Once you have a BN, you can access My Business Account using the user ID and password of your CRA online account.
If you don’t have a CRA online account, it is easy to create one. Simply go to the CRA website, and click on “CRA Register.” Then, follow the prompts to set up an account. You need your Social Insurance Number, personal income tax return from this year and last year, and your postal code. You also need to select a few security questions. When you have a CRA username and password and a BN, you can complete the My Business Account registration. As a final security measure, the CRA sends you an access code in the post, and you need to enter that code before you can use the service.
Alternatively, you may access the CRA’s online service using a sign-in partner. A sign-in partner is a private company or organization that uses Secure Key Technology to allow individuals to sign into the CRA using sign-in details associated with that organisation. For example, if your bank is a sign-in partner, you may use your username and password for your online bank account to sign into the CRA’s online service. However, to complete the registration process, you still need a few details from your last tax return to verify your identity, a business number, and the access code sent to you through the post. As of 2016, the CRA has the following sign-in partners: BMO Financial Group, CHOICE REWARDS MasterCard, Desjardins Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Tangerine, and TD Bank Group.
Types of Accounts
My Business Account allows you to set up several different accounts based on the type of business tax you need to pay, and the list includes GST/HST, payroll, corporate income tax, and excise tax. You may also set up accounts for registered charities and partnerships that are required to submit a T5103 informational return. The CRA has special accounts for less common types of taxes such as softwood lumber products export and air travellers security charges.
You will receive a unique code for each of the accounts you open, and the code will contain your BN and a two-letter code indicating the type of account. For example, My Business Account numbers for informational partnership returns use the letters RZ, while GST/HST accounts use the letters RT.
Hours of Service and Browser Recommendations
My Business Account is available 21 hours a day, seven days a week. Every day, the outage time is midnight to 3 a.m. Pacific Time, and maintenance happens during those hours. Aside from those hours, however, you may access My Business Account at any time from any computer or laptop that has access to the internet.
For best results, your browser should support TLS 1.0 or higher. You should also enable Java Script and cookies. Ideally, the CRA urges taxpayers to use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome to access My Business Account or other online services.
About Rob Cosman
Rob Cosman, is a Chartered Professional Accountant who runs his own accounting and tax practice with his wife in Toronto, Ontario. Beginning in 2000, Rob’s career spanned over Halifax, Cayman Islands and Toronto. Rob held senior industry positions including CFO roles in public and private industries ranging from telecommunications, retail sales, and consumer packaged goods.
Rob has over 10 years of tax experience and is the author of numerous articles. He has the ability to take complex tax situations, explain them in common sense terms and guide clients to make the best decisions based on their individual situations.