As of October 17, 2022, online services are now available to legal representatives for business accounts. For more information, see the note below.
A legal representative is an individual or organization appointed by a legal document. The limit of the actual authority is defined in the legal document.
You are the legal representative if you are in one of the following situations:
- You are appointed as the guardian, trustee or committee by a court
- You are named as the power of attorney
- You are named in a representation agreement
- You are requesting to be recognized as the person who will manage the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax matters for a resident of Quebec; visit Revenu Québec for additional information
- The CRA has received a copy of legal documents giving you the authority to be the legal representative for a non-resident tax account
To obtain online access to an individual's tax information, you must register for Represent a Client prior to sending a copy of the legal documents. Once you have registered with the Represent a Client service, you will be assigned a representative identifier (RepID). Make sure to provide your RepID, in addition to the individual's social insurance number (SIN), when you are submitting all the required documents.
Online services are now available to legal representatives for business accounts. You must register for Represent a Client, as mentioned above. Make sure to provide your RepID, in addition to the business number, when you are submitting all the required documents.
As the legal representative, you may wish to appoint an authorized representative to deal with the CRA for tax matters on your behalf. For more information, go to Representative authorization.
If you are already on file as the legal representative, you may submit a letter requesting online access that includes the taxpayer's SIN (or the business number) and your RepID through the "Submit documents" function in Represent a Client.
For specific situations, please contact Individual Tax Enquiries at 1-800-959-8281 or Business Enquiries at 1-800-959-5525.
Types of legal representatives
For more information on representing deceased individuals, go to Legal representative for a deceased person.
Power of attorney
A power of attorney is an authority, given by one person (the donor) to another person (the donee or attorney), to act on behalf of the donor, often in conducting their financial affairs.
The authority granted by a power of attorney may be general in nature, which could include all acts the donor may perform themselves, or it may be limited to specific acts such as the conduct of banking business or the sale of specified real estate. The authority granted by a power of attorney may also be limited to a specific time frame, such as during the absence of the donor from the country.
Since powers of an attorney can be very broad and are generally only subject to the conditions and restrictions found in the document appointing them, each power of attorney must be closely examined to determine the extent of the authority granted by it.
The CRA does accept foreign powers of attorney.
A guardian is an individual who is appointed by a court following the mental incapacity of a person. They generally are required to provide a true inventory of the incompetent's real and personal estate to the best of their knowledge and ability. Essentially a guardian stands in the shoes of a mentally incompetent person to make decisions about their estate and their well-being. There are two types of guardians:
- a guardian of the person, who has the right to make decisions about the person's health care, nutrition, clothing, etc.
- a guardian of property, who has the right to make financial decisions and decisions on other matters of an incompetent person
Guardianship of a minor
It is assumed the parent is the legal guardian, if the parent and the child have the same address, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
The parent can represent the child as the legal representative until the child reaches the age of adulthood in their province or territory of residence:
- 18 years old in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan
- 19 years old in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon
However, legal guardianship can be given to other individuals under certain circumstances. Court documentation is required in those cases.
A committeeship is a person or a group of persons appointed by the provincial court, or by the public trustee, in certain provinces to manage the personal or financial affairs of a person who is mentally incapable of doing so themselves.
Joint legal representatives
Joint legal representatives are two or more individuals or organizations who have the authority to act on behalf of a person as if they were the person themselves. A joint legal representative may act jointly (in unity or in concert) or severally (separately) depending on what has been specified in the legal document.
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