What does an authorized representative do?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

Tax

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows you to assign a representative to deal with them in regards to your personal or business accounts. This consent allows the representative to deal with CRA on your behalf for your personal taxes and your business taxes (GST/HST, payroll, corporate and importation). You can add or change your representative via My Account on CRA’s website or by filing either a T1013 – Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative or an RC59 – Business Consent Form.

There are two levels of authorization. Level 1 allows CRA to disclose information only, and Level 2 allows CRA to disclose information and accept changes from the representative. An example of Level 1 would be where you have a payroll administrator and that person needs to find out information about the account, such as payments received; in this case you’d do a Level 1, as they only need access to information. An example for Level 2 would be where an adjustment needs to be made on your personal tax return, the representative can get the information needed to make the adjustment as well as file the adjustment on your behalf.

If you are a small businessperson, the representative can represent you in all the different accounts you have with CRA: GST/HST, payroll, corporate tax, contractor payments, and importation. For these accounts you would file the RC59. If you want the representative to also work on your personal taxes you have to file the T1013 as well. Someone can file many of these accounts without being a representative as they are online forms or you may paper file. A representative comes in handy when they are working on these accounts and need access to confirm installment payments or what payments you have made on the account.

The advantage to authorizing a representative online is that this person gets immediate access to your business accounts. The paper forms can take several weeks to process, and, if you’re going through a review or audit this wastes precious time. The same can be done for your personal taxes, if you’ve set up My Account you can authorize a representative there.

What’s really cool now is the “Submit documents” service, which allows your representative 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. At this time, the service can only be used to submit documents in response to letters from CRA’s Processing Review and Corporate Assessing Review Programs that contain a case/reference number.

NOTE: don’t get an authorized representative confused with a legal representative. A legal representative can be someone with your power of attorney, your guardian, or an executor or administrator of the taxpayer’s estate.

Your representative will not be allowed to do the following:

  • Change your address;
  • Change your marital status;
  • Change your direct deposit information; or
  • Authorize other representatives;
  • View other representatives you have on your file; or
  • Cancel other representatives you have on your file.

Responsibilities of authorized representatives 

  • Act in the interest of your clients, employers, and interested third parties.
  • Not to disclose any taxpayer information the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to anyone else without the taxpayer’s prior consent provides that to you.
  • Ensure the security and privacy of all transactions you conduct on behalf of the taxpayer(s).
  • Ensure that all documents are properly disposed of to protect the taxpayer’s confidentiality.
  • Comply with all provisions of applicable legislation (i.e. Income Tax Act (ITA), Excise Tax Act (ETA), etc).
  • EFILE service providers are subject to the terms and conditions of EFILE.

Authorizing a representative is a good idea when you need to have someone access your account or have to make changes to a tax return or business account. Your representative can be an employee, bookkeeper, accountant, lawyer, or family member. It’s always a good idea to know who you have on your accounts, and to cancel any representative that you no longer need.

About the Author

Bookkeeper Extraordinaire Number Crunchers® Financial Services Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.