CRA e-services improvements on the way

CRA e-services improvements on the way

With tax season just beginning,the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has some business and individual program service improvements coming soon that will ease processes for authorizing taxpayer representatives, filing several elections, tracking the progress of tax filings at the CRA and more.

CRA officials highlighted these changes at a recent CRA-CPA Canada Technology Working Group meeting. This forum brings together senior CRA officials, tax preparers, tax software developers and other stakeholders to share information and brainstorm ideas for making tax administration better.

Many of the newest improvements, summarized below, were suggested at the group’s past meetings.

BUSINESS TAX PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS

Coming in May 2020, the MyBA secure electronic portal will be updated to feature some useful new functions. These include:

  • the ability to view up to seven years of information and import data into T2 software using T2 Autofill (up from five years)
  • online access to and electronic filing of the GST/HST new residential rental property rebate form (GST 524)  added to the suite of rebate applications that can already be electronically filed
    • this includes the Public Service Bodies’ related forms (GST66 and GST523-1), new housing rebate forms (GST190 and GST191) and the General Application for Rebate of GST/HST  (GST189)

More enhancements to MyBA that are in the works but not yet scheduled for release include the ability to:

  • sign up for email correspondence and receive confirmation when a payment is applied to an account
  • upload up to 150MB of documents (with the limit based on total file size, rather than the 10-document cap now in place)
  • submit documents in response to CRA requests without a CRA reference number

Pre-authorized debits for employers

Starting in February 2020, employers will be able to set up pre-authorized debits for payroll withholdings for up to 10 employees.

PERSONAL INCOME TAX PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS

Tuition slips now included in T1 auto-fill
Starting for 2019 T1s, post-secondary institutions will have to report tuition fees and related amounts on a new T2202 form so that data can be automatically added to a taxpayer’s T1 Income Tax Return with auto-fill my return.  Since this feature is new, the CRA expects to encounter a few issues and will work on improving it over time.

Transferring payments in MyAccount (MyA)
The CRA is aware of the problems caused when tax payments are allocated to a wrong account (e.g., to current-year instalments instead of prior-year tax owing). The CRA is looking into giving taxpayers and their representatives the ability to reallocate tax payments among various tax years and accounts.

Streamlined processes for authorizing taxpayer representatives
In February 2020, the CRA will introduce new processes for personal income taxpayers to authorize third-party representatives  (summarized on our tax resources for CPAs).

MORE IMPROVEMENTS

Progress tracker
The CRA is developing a “Progress Tracker” that will give taxpayers and representatives status updates on their tax filings and questions submitted to the CRA. The new solution will launch in two phases:

  • The first phase launched on December 16, 2019 and introduced a new “Check CRA Processing Times” tool that can be accessed on the CRA website and via the MyA and MyBA portals. The tool sets out general processing times for various CRA programs based on the CRA’s published service standards.
  • The second phase of the solution will be an account-specific tracking service offered in MyA and MyBA where taxpayers will be able to confirm that their return was received and track the progress of other activities related to their filings.

Finally, for a list of welcome changes made to MyBA and MyA earlier this fall that may have been missed, see the CRA’s October 2019 update presentation.

Read the full article on CPA Canada’s website.