What is Online Mail from CRA?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), our glorious tax collectors, are on a push to go completely digital in the very near future, and online mail is the next step. Part of that has been getting taxpayers to get their refunds via direct deposit, and paying any monies owed via online banking. They’ve also been pushing to get people to apply for My Account, which allows you to track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments, view your RRSP limit, set up direct deposit, and so much more.

The Canada Revenue Agency now offers an online mail service that allows individuals to receive some correspondence from the CRA online through My Account. Once you are registered for online mail, the CRA will send an email to the address you provided when new mail is available for you to view in My Account. For security reasons, the email notification does not contain any links. Correspondence available through online mail will no longer be printed and mailed.

What are the advantages of registering for online mail?

Paperless—viewing your correspondence online means less paper clutter around the home. The CRA even sends you an email notification when there is new mail in your secure online account, so you won’t miss a thing.

Convenient—when there is correspondence to view, you only need to log in to My Account to see it. You can access your tax information whenever you need it, wherever you are. To register, go to My Account.

Secure—the CRA takes the protection of Canadians’ tax information very seriously. The CRA uses the same high levels of security that financial institutions use to protect your banking information.

What correspondence can I receive electronically?

The CRA will send an email notification when eligible correspondence is ready to be viewed in My Account. Some examples of correspondence currently available through online mail include:

  • Notices of assessment (NOA);
  • Notices of reassessment (NORA);
  • Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) letters;
  • Benefit notices;
  • T1 adjustment notices; and
  • Instalment reminder.

CRA will continue to add more correspondence to their online mail service every year. As they become available, you will receive an email letting you know when they are available to view in My Account. For other correspondence items, you will continue to receive them from CRA through the mail.

How do I know if the email notification is from the CRA?

The CRA will never use aggressive language or tone, ask for prepaid credit cards, threaten arrest, or send police in any correspondence. A CRA email notification will only advise you that you have correspondence to view in My Account. It will never ask for you to confirm information or click on a link.

How do I register for online mail?

There are five ways you can register to receive online mail from the CRA:

  • log in to My Account and select the “Online mail” service;
  • use the MyCRA mobile app and select “Manage online mail”;
  • enter your email address on your paper T1 Income Tax and Benefit return or through NETFILE;
  • provide your email address to your tax preparer who is filling out form T183 or who uses EFILE; or
  • contact our Individual Income Tax and Trust Enquiries at 1-800-959-8281.

What email should I use?

Individuals should provide the email address of an account they regularly access.

The email address you provide is the one CRA will use to advise you that you have new mail available for viewing. While the CRA will not share any personal information by email, it is highly recommended that you provide your own personal email address to protect your privacy.

In other words, don’t use a work email as someone else has access to this, such as your boss, an IT person, or even your assistant.

What happens after I register?

Once you are registered, the CRA will send a registration confirmation email to the address you provided. Depending on the method you used to register, you should receive your confirmation email within the following timelines:

  • immediately if you used the “Online mail” service in My Account or MyCRA.
  • immediately if you called the Individual Income Tax and Trust Enquiries call centre.
  • within 8 business days if you filed your return electronically (NETFILE/EFILE).
  • within 4-6 weeks if you filed your return by paper.

If you do not receive a registration confirmation email, log in to My Account or MyCRA and review the email address in your profile. If the email address is incorrect, update it. If it is correct, check your junk mail or trash folder for an email from the CRA.

As with your mailing address, it is your responsibility to ensure we have your correct email address at all times.

Similar to the system employed by banks, no sensitive or confidential information is sent to you by email, nor does CRA request to receive such information from you through email.

When your new mail is available online, you will be advised to log in to My Account and select “View mail” to view and, if required, print it. My Account is the only place to view your online mail. To register, go to My Account.

I believe that the Online Mail is great, and that everyone should sign up for it. With all the mail theft going on, and the potential of identity theft from that, it makes perfect sense to have this all stored safely and securely on CRA’s servers. Also, most people end up losing these documents, and with it online, you always have access.

About the Author

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