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My CRA Account

One of the most important things you can have is have a My CRA on-line account with the Tax Folks. When you apply for the Canada Revenue Agency log in you have access to a lot of your financial information. How do you do that?

Straight forward

Go to this web site to start the process: CRA Log In Registration Site . Note you will need a copy of last years Tax return to verify you are who you are. Once you register, you wait, because the CRA will then send via Canada Post your log in credentials.

Make sure you set up all the correct security questions when you set up your log-in. The security questions will help keep your CRA log in safe.

Yes, this is cumbersome, but also very important. This variation on 2 stage verification is important to ensure no scurrilous nasty folk get at your CRA data. Even in troubled times, security is very important.

Once this letter shows up follow the instructions and log in. After logging in once, you can then put that information somewhere very secure, and forget about it. Why? Your Bank access (i.e. sign in partners) for online banking can be used (for most of us) as our log in after that.

Why Get it?

Why is My CRA so good to have? Here are a few things you can get there:

  • Your TFSA limit for this year. This is calculated at the start of the year, so if you have already deposited money into it, you’ll have to take that into consideration.
  • Your RRSP limit for the year. See the TFSA for the same cautions about the data.
  • The Status of your Tax Return or Appeal. I have found this invaluable with my many reviews and such. Typically the CRA will tell you if you have email to deal with from them as well.
  • Emails from the CRA about your return, or appeal. This is the only way the CRA will contact you, and it will tell you to check My CRA, without any link. They won’t ask for iTunes cards either.
  • Usually you can download your Tax data into Turbotax and other Tax Prep software, which makes life infinitely easier. I used that this year, very useful.
  • Employment insurance ei benefits are also listed, if you are unemployed.
  • The Canada recovery benefit crb is also on this page.
  • Lots of other stuff too.

If you are an on-line person, get this access now, it will make your life much simpler.

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New Year Tax Checklist

My friends at UFile wanted you folks to be ready for your taxes, so here is a helpful tax checklist for you to use.

New Year Tax Checklist

By Gerry Vittoratos, UFile

General Items

☐ Get all of your tax documents organized in one folder. Subdivide your folder into the following groupings:

  • Income slips (T4, T5, T5008, T4A, T4A(OAS), T4A(P), T4RSP, T4RIF, capital gains transactions summary etc…)
  • Expense receipts related to deductions (RRSP, union or professional dues, childcare, moving expenses etc…)
  • Expense receipts related to credits (Donations, medical expenses, tuition etc…)

☐ Do you own any foreign property (bank accounts, stocks, bonds not in an RRSP/RRIF/TFSA) whose overall cost surpassed $100,000 Canadian at some point in the year?

  • If yes, you must complete and submit the T1135 form

☐ Has your marital status changed in the year?

☐ Did you sell your personal residence during the year?

  • If yes, you must produce and file the T2091 form with your tax return

☐ Did you move to another province during the year?

  • If yes, use the tax package of the province you resided in on December 31st.

☐ Do you have an impairment that is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit?

☐ Did you have a child during the year?

  • If yes, complete and submit the RC66 form to the CRA to start collecting the Canada Child Benefit.

☐ Do you live with an infirm or disabled adult dependant in your own home?

☐ Do you have a copy of your previous year’s Notice of Assessment?

  • Important to find this document, which indicates carry forward amounts you can claim to reduce your tax payable and your RRSP contribution limit.

☐ Are you employed but with low income and had medical expenses?

  • Make sure to claim your medical expenses even if you have little to no tax to pay. You might be entitled to the refundable medical expense supplement credit, which reimburses you for portion of your expenses regardless of your tax payable.

☐ Are you self-employed and you paid income tax during the year through instalment payments?

  • If yes, make sure to claim these instalment payments against your tax payable.
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Other items based on recent changes

☐ Are you self-employed and purchased capital assets during the year?

☐ Are you self-employed and purchased a zero-emission vehicle after March 19th, 2019?

☐ Are you a school teacher in an elementary of secondary school and paid for supplies out-of-pocket?

☐ Was your income (or your spouse’s) too low in the prior years for the childcare expense deduction to have an effect on your tax return?

  • If yes, Ontario (New CARE credit) and Quebec offer a refundable credit that can be claimed even if your income and tax payable are low. Make sure to claim the expenses even if there is little effect on the Federal side.

☐ Are you a modest income earner with multiple T4s?

  • This year the federal government has enhanced the Canada Workers Credit. This is a generous refundable credit, but your income still needs to exceed a minimum threshold amount to qualify for it. Make sure to declare all your employment income.

Remember that UFile allows you to file for free, if you qualify.


Gerry Vittoratos –  Gdip Taxation

Gerry Vittoratos has been working for Thomson Reuters for over 10 years as a trainer and tax support resource person. In his capacity as head trainer, Gerry has been providing training sessions to tax professionals all over Canada. He has also made several radio and TV appearances on BNN and Global TV as the UFile tax specialist discussing a multitude of tax topics, and is the author of the UFile and DT Max tax blogs. Gerry has also served as the main resource person for the tax support department of Thomson Reuters, resolving complex tax issues and questions for tax professionals using the DT Professional Suite.

Gerry obtained his Graduate Diploma (Gdip) in Taxation from University of Sherbrooke in 2018, and is in the process of obtaining a Master’s of Taxation.

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CRA Quick Response

Careful What You Wish For From the CRA

I was delighted to see a response on my re-assessment, so quickly after I had called asking for status. After logging in to look at “My Account” I was a little concerned when I saw my account balance continued to be $0 (zero dollars).

Going into the Email section, I found out that I had made a bad assumption, and it was going to cost me more time. I had sent my support documentation for my claim that my son’s school fees were a medical expense in December. This package included letters from various professionals agreeing with this claim.

The package was sent on a Tuesday, however, on the Thursday afterward I received a package from the CRA. This package was all the supporting receipts for the same claim. I didn’t think much of it, but that was where I blundered.

This past Friday the CRA granted my claim for my son’s school fees as a medical expense. They pointed out, however, that since they didn’t have any receipts, they could not actually refund me any money.

After an obscenity filled few minutes, I calmed down, and realized how the sequence of events had worked against me.

What I Should Have Done?

I should have gone back on-line and submitted the receipts (again) to the CRA, with my supporting documents. The receipts have been sent again, however, I am back in the CRA queue, and I will need to follow up with them until they finally refund me my money (from 2017).

Guess I should have taken my own advice, that you can never send too much documentation to the CRA.

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Thinking like the Tax Folk

This week another chapter was written in my saga with my friends down at the CRA. Maybe I should just join the tax folks.

Previously you read about:

Earlier this week I received an envelope with all my receipts (from the 2018 pre-assessment) along with a letter stating the CRA allowed all of my claims in my 2018 return. I assumed this meant I would receive my complete tax refund, but I was also wary.

Tales from the CRA

The CRA thinks I owe them $4K so what was going to happen?

The CRA gave me my full refund for 2018 minus the $4K “owed” for the 2017 return. While annoying, I suppose it is nice to get some money back.

I now have the following quandaries:

  1. For 2018 claiming my son’s school fees as a medical expense has been allowed (so far). I have no aspersions that I may get another request for justification about this, but that remains to be seen.
  2. If the school fees are allowed for 2018, will they be allowed for 2017 given:
    1. This is the same school
    2. The same evidence was submitted to the CRA and OK’ed for tax year 2018
  3. If the school fees are allowed for tax year 2017, the CRA now owes me over $4K, which they have already have taken as payment from my 2018 refund.

What to Do Now?

Do I dare call the CRA and ask about this? Yes, I should. If I do not follow up the 2017 tax situation will continue to drag on. Yes, it may trigger a review of my 2018 return as well, but that is a risk I will deal with, if it transpires.

When you have a child on the Spectrum, and you have a non-standard tax return, life is never dull.

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Income Tax Receipts

After posting my taxes on Sunday, I was wondering how things would go with my return. I am currently in a reassessment for the previous tax year, so what would the CRA do about this?

It did not take long, as they replied on-line with a message asking for receipts for the tax year for the exact areas where I am being reassessed for the previous tax year. This actually makes perfect sense, to me. This process is called a pre-assessment, which seems to imply, they want to verify my claims before processing.

Given my previous year reassessment is still in process, I will include all the information from that process, just to be thorough. I am attempting to make the same claims that I am having reassessed, so it is better to give too much information, than not enough.

Remember, in these situations, always have a complete cover letter. The cover letter must identify the process identifier, and should inventory all the documentation you are sending.  I am also having my wife check what I am sending, it never hurts to have another set of eyes check things for you.

The only interesting part is that they are asking for receipts for my charitable donations, which has nothing to do with my reassessment. The value has gone up, but I am curious as to why they are asking for that as well.

What to Do?

I will be submitting them all on-line (for speed), and shall see what comes of this.

This is all part of the whole tax process, but does seem to be how this year is going for me as well (i.e. things that can get complicated, do get complicated).

Remember to keep those receipts too!

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