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A Canada Revenue Agency sign in Ottawa.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Some things you can stop wondering about if you have a My Account set up with the Canada Revenue Agency:

  • Has CRA assessed my 2023 tax return and confirmed my refund amount or balance owing?
  • How can I make a change in my tax return?
  • How much contribution room do I have for my registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts in 2024?
  • How can I set up or change the financial institution where my tax refund is direct deposited?
  • When is my next Canada Carbon Rebate, GST tax credit and Canada Child Benefit payment coming, and how much will they be?
  • How do I apply for the Canada Dental Benefit?

I’ve had a My Account for many years and check it multiple times a year. It’s essential for managing your finances, and now it’s much easier to set up. CRA has just announced that anyone aged 16 and up can set up a My Account pretty immediately using government-issued ID like a driver’s licence or passport. You just need a camera-enabled mobile device, and access to information from your current tax return, or the previous year’s return. One more requirement is that you provide your social insurance number.

CRA has until now had a rather plodding process for setting up My Account and registering for digital services like setting up direct deposit and updating personal information. You had to apply for a security code sent by mail – yes, mail – and settle in for a wait of up to 10 business days.

When you need to check a detail about your tax return or your contribution room for registered a accounts, it’s usually a spur of the moment thing and not something you plan 10 days in advance. Now, you can get a My Account – and a My Business Account – instantly. If you prefer to request the code, you can still do that.

One criticism of My Account is that the information on TFSA contribution room can be outdated and thus useless. Here’s my warning about this issue.

We’re looking for TFSA heavy hitters

If you have a tax-free savings account valued at more than $500,000, The Globe and Mail wants to hear how you accomplished the feat. Click here to tell us more.

Subscribe to Carrick on Money

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Roadside smackdown

Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance goes up against the CAA in this thorough comparison. The CAA is for non-drivers, too. Here’s a review of perks and rewards for non-drivers who join the CAA, including a service called bike assist.

The BNPL trap

As I knew it would, Buy Now, Pay Later is leaving people in debt. BNPL lets you pay for purchases in installments, often with no interest. The problem with BNPL is that it encourages over-spending. You can end up making payments on stuff you used up long ago, or didn’t really need.

Validate that PoA

A power of attorney for property is a way to authorize someone to make financial decisions on your behalf, and it’s almost as important as having a will. To ensure a PoA will be accepted by a bank or other financial company, have it validated before it’s needed. Here are some case studies on the complications that can ensure if you don’t take this step.

Young Drivers of Canada

A comparison of vehicle insurance costs for new drivers age 18 to 22. Quite a variation, but the general theme is that it’s very expensive to own a car if you’re a young person.

Ask Rob

Q: I have just received a statement about my RRSP from my bank. It shows that on an investment of $66,783, I received the princely amount in quarterly interest of $1.38. Is there something I can do?

A: Whoa, that is a tiny amount of interest. Your first step in fixing this is to get in touch with your bank to confirm what you’re holding in your RRSP. Is it a savings account? If so, it’s time to find something more productive. Even your bank’s GICs and mutual funds would be better. Or, what about using your bank’s online brokerage division to invest in a balanced exchange-traded fund? Also known as asset allocation ETFs, these funds offer low-cost diversification into bonds and stocks from Canada, the United States and the rest of the world.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Tools and guides

The Canadian Bankers Association on how to spot this year’s income tax filing scams.

In the social sphere

Social Media: Why you should file a tax return if you’re 18 and up, even if you have no income.

Watch: A funny Tik Tok video about the indestructibility of the Canadian $5 bill. Something else that about these bills – if you fold one and put a crease in it, you can never straighten it out again.

Money-Free Zone: Someday, I’ll exhaust the supply of overlooked classic soul tunes from the 1960s and 70s. For now, I keep finding gems like Someday, by The Tempests. The horns make this tune – and the vocal performance.

More PF from The Globe

- No kids? No problem - How Canada’s child-free and cash-rich couples are spending their time and money

- Do stocks return 10 to 12%, on average? No, and that’s a dangerous assumption

- Don’t drive around looking for cheap gas. Beat rising prices by stacking loyalty rewards at the pump

- Are your investment returns good enough to fund your retirement?

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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