prepare tax documents

To set up your CRA account you need your last year's tax return.

Complete YOur Registration

If using certified tax software, complete your full registration.

  • Full registration saves and auto fills certain parts of your tax return for future use. This will save a lot of time and grief when doing taxes the following year.

Sign up for 2 useful features:

  • Receive an email notification when your Notice of Assessment is posted to your CRA account. Notice of Assessment is the official confirmation of your tax return for the year.
  • Set up a direct deposit to have your tax refund sent directly to your chequing account.

Your CRA account allows you to securely access your key income tax information:

  • Status of your tax return after you submit it.
  • Notice of Assessment - a statement from the CRA confirming the details of your tax return. 
  • TFSA / RRSP contribution room (the maximum you can contribute to these registered accounts).
  • My Benefits CRA shows your benefit and credit eligibility and payments.

create your cra account


There are two ways to create an account:

1. Login with the same information you use for your online banking (select 'Sign-in Partner').

2. Create a unique user ID and password for your CRA account.

It's your choice which method you use. When you decide, keep in mind that:

  • It's convenient to access your CRA account and your chequing account using the same online user ID and password. 
  • But, if you switch to a different bank, you'll have to remember to switch the Sign-in Partner designation in your CRA account. And not all banks are signed up with the CRA. 
  • If you're concerned about cyber-security, you may want to keep online access to your banking separate from online access to your taxes.

Before you start, make sure you have:

1. Your SIN (social insurance number) - what if you don't have it?

2. Last tax return. 

You'll be asked to provideyour SIN, date of birth, postal code, and your total income from the previous year's tax return.  Items on your tax return are often referred to by line number – you'll be prompted by the application with the line number to cite.

Get your security code.
After you complete the application, you’ll have to wait a few days to  receive your CRA security code by mail (or you can call them to get it sooner).​ 

Here's a 3-minute video from the CRA about how to create your CRA account.

if you filed before

Skip this step, unless you want to review the basics below, in the yellow box.


if you don't have your cra account

1. You submitted a tax return last year

Set up your CRA account right now.  

  • Follow the steps below.

​2.  This is your first tax return                 

If this is your first tax return, submit it first and then set up your CRA account. 

  • You will have to manually input the information from your tax slips when you complete your tax return.
  • Your tax slips will actually be uploaded to the CRA system but you wont' see them. The CRA will use the information to verify your inputs.

Set up your CRA account after you submit your this year's tax return.

  • Follow the steps below.

How is income tax calculated?

​​1. Determine your income from all sources.

    What income is taxable?

2. Subtract tax deductions for which you’re eligible.

3. Multiply the difference by the applicable tax rates (federal and provincial).

    What tax brackets and tax rates do we have in Canada?

4. Subtract tax credits for which you're eligible. Now you have your tax bill for the year.

    What tax deductions and credits are available (and what's the difference)?

5. Subtract any tax you've already paid. For example, your employer may have deducted tax directly from your paycheque.

    What else is deducted from your paycheque?


6. Collect a refund or pay any additional tax you owe.

if this is your first tax return

Have a conversation with your parents or guardian / primary caregiver about income tax.

  • They may have already started filing tax returns on your behalf.
  • If so, ask if you could take over and start doing your own taxes from now on.

At the latest, file your first tax return the next tax season after you turn 18.

if you have it

​​Login to check the status of your tax slips.

  • Most employers and government / financial institutions upload tax slips they issue directly to the CRA system. 
  • The CRA uses them to verify the information you provide when you submit your tax return.

All tax slips uploaded to the CRA system will automatically populate your tax return. 

  • You may have to manually add those that have not been uploaded.

BY THE END OF FEBRUARY - Gather Tax SLips, Receipts, and certificates

Gather all relevant tax slips, certificates, and receipts. 

Tax slips are used to verify your income - from employment and investments. 

  • T4 slips provide information about your employment income. This includes any money you earn from working or receive as certain benefits or because you're retired.
  • T3 and T5 slips provide information about your investment income (money you earned in your savings and investment accounts). They are also used to calculate the value of certain deduction and credits.

Certificates and receipts are used to claim tax deductions and credits.Deductions and credits reduce the amount of tax you owe.

  • The Tuition and Enrollment Certificate from a college or university is an example of a tax certificate.
  • Uninsured medical or dental fees, certain moving expenses, and charitable donations are examples of expenses for which you need receipts.  

How do you get these tax documents? 

  • If you work, your employer will send you (by regular post or email) a tax slip stating the income you earned duringthat tax year (January to December).
  • If you have an account where you earned interest​, like a savings or investment account, your bank will send you a tax slip​ (by regular post or email).​ 
  • Tuition and enrollment certificates have to be downloaded from your college / university student portal. 
  • Make sure to collect and store in a safe place all receipts for medical and moving expenses, and charitable donations.

Missing a slip? Found a mistake? It's on you to follow up. You need to know which of your activities have tax implications (which means they need to be reported in your tax return).

  • Tax slips - Reach out to the employer/bank.  If you don’t get it before the deadline, the CRA suggests you estimate the amount and keep your calculations.
  • Receipts and certificates - Contact the provider and ask for a copy if you can't download it from the provider's portal. You should not include the item(s) in your tax return unless you have a receipt / certificate.​​​

monitor your tax slips through the cra account

What is it? Your CRA account is your income tax portal.  Use it when you prepare your yearly tax return, monitor tax updates from the CRA, and register to receive certain government benefits (if you're eligible).​