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Your guide to stress-free communication with the CRA

If you’ve ever received one of those brown envelopes in the mail from CRA you know the stress they can induce.  Today, with the CRA leaning into digital it’s more likely it’s an email that simply says “you’ve got mail”. 

You probably react to these one of two ways:

  • Open as fast as possible and breathe a sigh of relief when it’s just another payment confirmation notice OR
  • Ignore it and swear you’ll open it as soon as you get the courage


It’s all too common and normal for us to feel insecure with the thought of having to communicate with CRA and our fear based brains have evolved to assume the worst. Communication from CRA creates a feeling that we did something wrong and now we are in trouble. This is generally not the case though. 


As a Canadian business owner you will inevitably have to deal with the CRA at some point in your business. How you approach your conversations can make all the difference. Here are our tips for keeping calm and just getting it done.


Make the mental shift

 We want to challenge you to shift your mindset when it comes to the fears you associate with CRA. This huge government agency is actually a collection of individuals. People - like you and me. These agents are there to make sure that business owners get their questions answered, pay their taxes and comply with tax laws. They can be a resource in fact- especially for new business owners, who may not know their way around the tax ropes. If you approach your communication from a human to human perspective you will be more successful (and calm) in your interactions. 


Communicating clearly with the agents on the other side of the phone is key. Agents are there to move towards a solution. If you owe money, are getting an audit or made a mistake the best thing to do is not to ignore them.


Get Your Online Accounts set up


With the CRA increasingly moving towards digital communication, getting your online accounts set up with CRA is imperative to keep the lines of communication open and avoid missing out on important communication. 

If you are a small business you’ll need a My Business Account and all individuals should have a My Account as well.


You’ll need a few things on hand to get this process started, such as your business number, SIN, address, date of birth, and generally specific of information from a prior year tax return. 


You can learn more about CRA E-Services HERE


Pro tip - get this process started early and ensure you take all precautions to protect your login information including using a unique password of at least 16 characters and using multi-factor authentication.


We are big fans of going the extra mile to protect your personal information!


Know Who to Call For Help


If you have questions about your CRA obligations you can turn to a few different sources, including the CRA themselves.


You can also ask questions to your own accountant. Of course professional advice will come at a cost but they can help you cut through the noise of misinformation and guide you to find the right answers specific to your business.  Learn more about choosing a tax preparer and setting yourself up for success in our blog 6 Tips for Small Business Owners When Working With a Tax Preparer


If you don’t have an accountant or affordability is an issue, you can ask questions to CRA agents themselves - in fact the CRA has liaison officers available to provide free tax help for small business owners and self-employed individuals which you can learn more about and book an appointment HERE


You can also turn to us for support - we offer 50 min clarity calls dedicated to getting you the answers about your small business accounting and taxes in a focused power hour.  


The Bottom Line


Getting comfortable with receiving communication from CRA and navigating the tax system in Canada can take time - have patience but also be sure to set yourself up for success with proper online access, support and resources.  Don’t forget to take a deep breath and stay calm in the process! Easier said than done - we know :)  


Interested in learning more from us?   Follow along with us through our social media accounts (find us on Instagram @growcpa) and sign up for our newsletter for more educational and fun financial content. 

Wishing you success in your business,

 - Martina + Ashli


Date published: April 14, 2023

Disclaimer - The information provided in this blog is general in nature and solely for educational purposes. Readers use and implementation of the information comes at their own risk and is their own responsibility. 




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