There are three main types of accounts that you can or must register for with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Accounts for individuals
Individuals in Canada have to be registered with CRA, because they have to file taxes. You can also register online and file your tax return using NETFILE, which is an electronic tax-filing service.
CRA has several other online programs for which individuals can register. For instance, if you want to be able to get information about your tax account, you can register for My Account.
CRA also offers a tool called MyCRA. This is a mobile application which allows you to look at your notice of assessment, benefit and credit information, return status and RRSP and TFSA information.
By registering online with CRA not only can you look at your personal income tax information online, but you can also do other things simply by going online and accessing your account, including changing your address or phone number, change your return or authorize a representative. You can even formally dispute your assessment.
If you have an accountant or a tax lawyer that handles matters for you, you can authorize to give them access to view the online information and file taxes, or do other things on your behalf.
You must register your business with CRA if you have a program account and a business number.
If a person registers their business with any level of government, be it federal, provincial or municipal, they will get a program account and a business number.
For example, if you are planning on having or have employees and you need to register for a GST/HST account, then most likely you will need to register with CRA. That is because the business now has to register a payroll program account and a GST/HST program account.
Note: if you do not need a program account, then you also won’t need a business number.
If you do not have employees and do not need to register for GST/HST, then you likely do not need a program account or a business number. The more a business grows though, the more likely that you will eventually need these accounts.
However, to be certain if you need to register for the above, it’s always best to consult with CRA, your accountant or a tax lawyer.
When it comes to GST/HST accounts, the biggest question is whether you need to have one.
If you meet these two conditions, then you must register for a GST/HST account:
- If you don’t qualify as a small supplier;
- If you provide taxable services and property in Canada, during the course of your commercial activity.
There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are a taxi cab or limousine driver you have to get a GST/HST number. There are also special rules that apply to public institutions and charities as well as public service bodies which are not charities.
You have three ways of registering for your account:
- By mail or fax;
- By telephone; or
Canada Revenue Agency