Tax season can be overwhelming for many individuals, as it isn’t just about readying your documents and keeping track of your receipts. It’s also best to prepare everything ahead, including ensuring you have set up a CRA My Account for easier online tax filing.
When registering for My Account for the first time, you will receive a code by mail to complete the registration process and protect your identity.
What is a CRA Security Code?
The CRA Security Code is a unique identifier that the CRA uses to authenticate one’s identity when accessing online services.
This code is mandatory for individuals to complete the registration process and gain access to personal tax information and services performed by the CRA.
That way, individuals gain an extra layer of security to protect sensitive tax information, only allowing authorized users to access and manage their taxes online.
When Do You Need To Use the CRA Security Code?
In 2020, the Canada Revenue Agency and Canadian taxpayers fell victim to a major hacking attack, compromising over 5,000 accounts and their private information. Because of this, the CRA began upgrading its system to maintain a safe environment for users.
A CRA security code is required when you sign up for My Account as an individual or business. My Account can be used for performing different tax matters online, including:
- Submitting tax return documents
- Editing personal information
- Adding or removing tax accountants and representatives from your account
- Applying for child benefits
- Setting up direct deposits for tax refunds and credits
- Requesting a CPP ruling
- Filing GST or HST rebates
- Viewing your TFSA and RRSP limits
How to Get a CRA Security Code
Now that you know more about the CRA and the need for a security code, these are the steps you must take to avail of one:
Step 1: Set Up Your Profile
Before anything else, you will need to register for a CRA My Account if you haven’t yet. Gather the following information, which you will input during the registration process:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Postal code
- Social insurance number
- Your last two tax returns
Step 2: Create Your Username and Password
Once you have input your personal information, you will be asked to set a unique username and password. Make sure that you create a strong password to prevent unauthorized access, and that you write down your login details somewhere in case you forget it.
Step 3: Set Up Your Security Q and A’s
For an extra layer of protection, you’ll be asked to set up security questions that you may be asked in future logins for identification purposes.
I recommend setting up questions with answers that you will remember but will be difficult for others to guess. Here are a few sample questions you can consider using:
- What was the street name of the first house you lived in?
- What was the last name of your first childhood friend?
Step 5: Access Your CRA Account
And you’re done! After receiving your CRA security code, you can log into your CRA account and input your security code.
There are two ways to log into your account: through a connection partner or using the credentials you created when opening your CRA My Account.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Your CRA Security Code?
It will take about five business days to receive your CRA security code, which can take up to ten business days. If you have yet to receive your code, you may follow up by contacting the Canada Revenue Agency.
What Happens if Your CRA Security Code is Expired?
Your CRA security code will have an expiry date indicated once you receive it. In case your code expires, you will get an error message when you try using it.
You can get a new CRA security code by contacting the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 to request one, which will be mailed to your address. If you moved addresses or have vision impairments, you can also request to receive the security code in alternate formats.
What To Do if You Lose Your CRA Security Code
In case you have lost your Canada Revenue Agency security code, you can simply head to the CRA’s official website to retrieve it instantly, just like if you had an expired code.
Upon visiting their website, click on the “Contact Us” page and you can receive assistance via telephone.
What is the CRA?
The CRA is the Canada Revenue Agency, or the Agence du revenu du Canada, which is the equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. Their mandate is to administer tax laws for the Government of Canada.
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This federal agency collects taxes from Canadians and oversees social programs funded by tax dollars, including those by offered by various provincial governments.
What are sign-in partners for the CRA?
Sign-In Partners are private companies and organizations partnered with Interac, allowing customers to use their online credentials to access services under the Government of Canada.
How many digits is a CRA code?
Your CRA security code is a four-digit number.
Does CRA send the security code by email?
Yes, the CRA can send your security code via email, provided you submitted your email address and opted to receive your code via email.
Is the CRA access code confidential?
Yes, your CRA access code is confidential, and you must never share your code with anyone.