One of the most common questions we hear from our clients is “how do I make a payment to the CRA?”
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a number of options for making payments, allowing you to choose the payment method that best suits your immediate needs. In the past, the only options available to taxpayers (individuals or businesses) would have been to use a remittance form provided by CRA to pay at the bank teller or by mail through Canada Post.
The remittance forms had magnetic ink encoding so the payment would be applied to the correct taxpayer and tax year. These old-school remittance forms are still provided by CRA but only by special request as they are intentionally moving toward more electronic options. Even though we all know change can be hard, we believe these new options are actually easier for taxpayers.
Electronic Payment Options for The CRA
The two most common electronic options are making payments using your financial institution’s online banking bill payment service or via CRA’s My Payment service.
Payment using online banking is as simple as setting up a new payee, like a utility bill or credit card. For individuals, you simply enter your SIN for your account number and select the payment option (e.g., payment on filing, arrears balance or installment).
Businesses typically have to select “Business Tax Payment” or a similar option within bill payments to get to the CRA payments. Once there, you select the type of payment (GST, corporate tax or payroll).
Most banks also allow you to file your GST or payroll remittance at the same time as payment.
CRA’s My Payment service has been around for a number of years and accepts Interac Debit, Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard payments. It uses the same login information as your online banking account (so you don’t have to remember another dreaded password). Unlike online banking which can take a day to process, with My Payment you get an immediate confirmation, great for those last-minute tax payments. Important note: credit card payments are not accepted through the My Payment service.
The steps for My Payment are very similar to online banking: first, select your payment type, account number, payment period and amount. Once you are happy with the payment to be made, confirm and click “Pay Now” to proceed to select the bank to pay from.
Did you know that you can set up pre-authorized debit (PAD) payments to CRA? PAD payment agreements can be set up for a one-time payment or for a series of payments (like installments). You can create a PAD payment agreement in your CRA My Account or by asking that your electronic filer completes and files form T185, Electronic Filing of a Pre-authorized Debit Agreement.
Of course, we would be remiss if we left out credit card payments, we all love the points! The option is available, but it’s not free. Two third-party providers, PaySimply and Plastiq, accept credit cards for a fee of about 2.5%.
In-Person Payment Options for the CRA
You can make a payment to CRA by visiting your Canadian bank, financial institution, or credit union, if you have a personalized remittance voucher. Personalized remittance vouchers can be requested through My Account or by calling the appropriate general enquiries line 1-800-959-5525 (Business) or 1-800-959-8281 (Individual). For individual taxpayers only, your tax return preparer may be able to print a personalized remittance voucher that can be used to make your tax payment in person via cheque or debit.
CRA’s newest payment option allows you to pay in person with cash or debit at any Canada Post outlet across Canada using a QR code that contains information that allows CRA to credit your account. Personalized remittance vouchers from CRA or from your tax return preparer will already contain this QR code. If you do not have a personalized remittance voucher, you can create a QR code at paysimply.ca. Service fees for Canada Post payment services range from $3.95 – $7.95 and are dependent on the amount of the payment.
Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein.
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