Authorizing a business representative
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) needs your consent to deal with a representative for business account related matters. To add or change the name of a representative, you must make the changes either online through the Authorize or manage representatives option on My Business Account or advise your CRA tax centre in writing.
There are some important differences in the rules and regulations that govern the use of contact persons and representatives. Read the sections below for more information on how to authorize the CRA to communicate with a representative. For more information on the distinction between the two roles see Contact person.
An authorized representative can be an employee or a person that does not work for your business such as a lawyer, accountant, customs broker, or bookkeeper.
You can authorize a representative to have access to all your business accounts or restrict access to specific accounts only. The representative can register your business, access your accounts, make account enquiries, and update account information but only with written authorization.
Authorizing a representative
To allow the CRA to communicate with a representative, you will need to give your consent by authorizing a representative for your business or updating your current representatives list with changes. A representative has access to your information until you revoke the authorization.
Your consent/authorization will stay in effect until:
- you cancel it, or
- it reaches the expiry date you choose
You do not need to complete a new form or update My Business Account every year if there are no changes.
There are two options for authorizing a representative:
- Option 1: Authorizing a representative online
- Option 2: Written authorization
Option 1: Authorizing a representative online
To authorize a representative online you must be registered with My Business Account and provide the requested information online through the Authorize or manage representatives option.
Online authorization gives your representative immediate access to your business accounts.
For more information about this service, see Authorize or manage representatives.
Option 2: Written authorization
To provide written authorization, you must complete and sign an RC59, Business Consent form. The form may only be signed by an authorized person of the business. This includes an owner, partner of a partnership, a director of a corporation, an officer of a non-profit organization, or a trustee of an estate.
Prior to signing an RC59, Business Consent form:
- Ensure the information provided is accurate.
- You must grant the person named on the RC59 the authority to access your account information at one of the two levels listed below:
- Level 1: to disclose information only, or
- Level 2: to disclose and request changes to information
By signing the RC59, you are authorizing a representative to have access to information regarding your business account (online if specified, via the telephone or in writing). Once completed and verified it must be sent to your CRA tax centre within six months of its signature date.
A representative with online access can file returns and check their status, view account balances and transactions, transfer payments, view correspondence and more. See our List of services for representatives of businesses.
For more information on this service, see the instructions on the RC59 Business Consent form.
Business taxpayer responsibilities
It is your responsibility to monitor and understand the transactions your representative is conducting on your behalf. By accessing My Business Account, you can view a list of representatives you've authorized as well as verify the latest activity on your account.
If you feel your representative is not acting in your best interests, you should immediately remove their access to your information.
Under subsection 241(5) of the Income Tax Act, and 295(6) of the Excise Tax Act, the CRA has the legal discretion to decide if it will disclose information about a taxpayer to another person upon consent of the taxpayer.
Managing your account
You should always know the names of the representative(s) authorized to deal with the CRA on your behalf. You can authorize, change or view the list of representatives on your account online using the Authorize or manage representatives service of My Business Account.
You can immediately cancel an existing consent by calling us at 1-800-959-5525 or by using the My Business Account service.
You can also cancel an existing authorization by completing parts 1, 4,and 5 of the RC59, Business Consent form.
Forms and publications
- Form RC59, Business Consent form
- Form GST507, Third Party Authorization and Cancellation of Authorization for GST/HST Rebates
- Booklet RC2, The Business Number and Your Canada Revenue Agency Program Accounts
- Contact person
- Authorize or manage representatives
- Responsibilities of authorized representatives
- Represent a Client (E-services)
- My Business Account
- Services on My Business Account
- Business Number (BN) registration
- List of services for representatives of businesses
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