What is a CRA Security Code? How To Get One

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Have you been locked out of your CRA account and asked to provide a security code? The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can either be your best friend or, shall we say, a bit of an inconvenience. While they are responsible for collecting taxes from all Canadians, they have advanced their tactics over the years to not only make things easier for them but also for Canadians who just want to make sure they don’t get nasty letters from the tax collectors. 

Now, almost everything is done online, and taxes should be no different, according to the CRA.  With that convenience comes some additional security requirements. Let’s introduce you to the CRA security code.

What is The CRA Security Code?

Canadians can now conduct almost any tax-related business via the CRA “My Account” online.  From viewing your tax return status to changing your personal information and applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the services offered via My Account are supremely helpful to all Canadians.

Some services, however, require an additional level of security, which is where the CRA security code comes into play.  There is a full list here of the services that will require a security code to access, here is a quick snapshot of what does and does not require a security code:

Security Code Not Required:

–          Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

–          Apply for Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

–          View status of tax return

–          Adjust notification preferences

–          Request a remittance voucher

–          View notice of assessment of reassessment

–          View Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) deduction limit and Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) contribution room

–          Pay by pre-authorized debit

Security Code Required:

–          View a detailed status of your tax return

–          View mail

–          View a detailed notice of assessment or reassessment

–          View detailed RRSP and TFSA

–          Arrange your direct deposit

–          View tax information slips

–          View account balance and statement of account

–          Change your return

It’s clear from the list that there are some things you’d certainly want to have additional security for.  While it may add a bit of inconvenience when logging into the CRA My Account or if you lose your security code, it allows access to many tools that will make your life much easier when managing your taxes.

How Do I Obtain My CRA Security Code?

This code is issued to you by the CRA once you complete the registration process for a CRA My Account.  If you have already gone through the registration process for an Individual My Account, My Business Account, the MyCRA app, MyBenefits CRA app, or CRA BizApp, you should have been provided with a security code at the end.

Note that the security code has an expiration date, which also is provided to you once you complete registration.  If you received a CRA code and you haven’t registered for a My Account in any form, you should contact the CRA to let them know.

If you need a new security code mailed to you, you can contact the CRA on 1 (800) 959-8281. You should know that the wait time for this service is quite long. Many people have complained about having to call the CRA several times or waiting over an hour on the phone. The COVID19 has made an already bad situation even worse.

Obtaining your security code simply requires that you have a social insurance card, date of birth, postal or ZIP code, and the amount you entered on one of your income tax and benefit returns.  These are the same requirements for registration for a CRA My Account.

What Do I Do With the CRA Security Code

The process is the same for all types of My Accounts – Individual, Business, My CRA app, MyBenefits App, or CRA BizApp.  Once you create your account and have a user ID and password, you’ll also need to create security questions and answers.

After the security questions, you’ll have access in a limited capacity as mentioned above.  When prompted for your security code, simply enter it and you’ll have full, unrestricted access to the CRA My Account tools.

Conclusion

The CRA My Account and accompanying security code allow Canadians to access some incredibly helpful tools for managing taxes, managing benefits and applying for several government programs created within the last year. 

You need only a small bit of information to sign up for one, and there are even some tools in your My Account that don’t even require a security code. 

However, having the code will allow you full access to the website and various apps. You can easily pay your taxes online. This unprecedented access to your tax portal has proven especially beneficial during the Covid-19 pandemic in allowing Canadians to manage taxes and apply for benefits without risking further exposure at tax offices.

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.