Why Designating Your Tax Preparer as a Representative is a Good Idea

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

There comes a time when your tax preparer is going to need access to your information that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has on you. This could be as simple as finding out how much you made in installments to more complicated such as adjusting your income tax return already filed. Of course, if CRA comes calling about your tax return filed, then having your tax preparer may be the way to go.

Access to Your Information

Allowing your tax preparer to have access to your CRA information can not only save them time getting your notices of assessments or tax installments, it saves you the hassle of having to find them and delay the preparation of your return. There are quite a few things your tax preparer can gather as your representative.

List of notices issued

A new service called 'List of notices issued' provides authorized representatives with a summary list of notices of assessment (NOA) and notices of reassessment (NOR) that have been issued to you as a result of a tax return being filed or amended.

Starting February 13, 2017, a summary list will be available and will include notices that were issued within the last year. Notices that were assessed before February 13, 2017, or before the authorization effective date, will not appear in the list.

The four possible notice types that will be displayed are:

  • NOA issued – No change – will be displayed when an initial assessment results in no tax difference from what was originally submitted.
  • NOA issued – Changed – will be displayed when an initial assessment results in a tax difference from what was originally submitted with the tax return.
  • NOR issued – Client or representative request – will be displayed when a change has been submitted to an assessment.
  • Other NOR issued – will be displayed when a change to an assessment has been initiated by the CRA.

Here’s a list of services for representatives of individuals.

Submit Documents

The “Submit documents” service allows you to electronically send documents to CRA on behalf of either your individual or business clients. “Submit documents” can be accessed directly through Represent a Client and allows you to submit documents on behalf of multiple clients without leaving the “Submit documents” service. The service can only be used to submit documents in response to requests from the CRA to submit supporting documentation and you will be provided with a reference number to use.

Auto-fill Return

Auto-fill my return is a secure Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) service that allows authorized representatives to automatically fill in parts of a 2016 and 2015 income tax and benefit return with information that the CRA has available at the time of filing the return. This service will continue in the future. That said, your tax preparer still needs to see the physical slips to compare what CRA has on file. We found many clients with a T4 of which CRA had no information.

Auto-fill also allows your tax preparer to get information on your carry forwards such as the Home Buyers Plan, non-capital and capital losses, tuition/education credits, etc.

Representing You in a “Review” or an “Audit”

This is where the representative can home in very handy. You get that notice that CRA wants to review something from your return filed, medical is usually one of those. Your tax preparer can get this information together from you, scan and then upload all your receipts to CRA, nice and easy.

If CRA is calling to “review” your return as a small business person, then you should have someone represent you in such matters. They will know exactly what items they put under each expense category, and can explain to CRA their reasoning for so doing. However, they can’t do that without being your representative.

For individuals, it won’t hurt having a third party at any reviews or audits by CRA, or even having them represent you without having to be there with the auditor. Who needs that stress, right? Letting the representative attend the review or having the review done in the representative’s office, may be a good choice.

Responsibilities of authorized representatives

· You shall act in the interest of your clients, employers, and interested third parties.

· You agree not to disclose any taxpayer information that is provided to you by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to anyone else without the taxpayer's prior consent.

· You agree to ensure the security and privacy of all transactions you conduct on behalf of the taxpayer(s).

· You will ensure that all documents are properly disposed of to protect the taxpayer's confidentiality.

· You must comply with all provisions of applicable legislation (i.e. Income Tax Act (ITA), Excise Tax Act (ETA), etc).

· Please note that if you are accessing a taxpayer's account information online through the Represent a Client online service, you are also subject to the terms and conditions of the Represent a Client online service.

· EFILE® service providers are subject to the terms and conditions of EFILE®.

· The CRA reserves the right to revoke or suspend your privileges as an authorized representative of the taxpayer if you fail to abide by these terms and conditions of use.

Having a representative when it comes to CRA matters is a good thing to do, and it allows them to chat with CRA alieving you of that stress. For the representative it makes preparing your return more accurate, and less stressful for them as they can get the information they need to do the return without pestering you.

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