What is a payroll program account?

If you’re an employer, trustee, or payer of other amounts related to employment, you’re required to open a payroll program account with the CRA to make the appropriate remittances to the government. Throughout the book, we’ll make sure to keep the focus solely on you, the employer.

If you already have a business number and have previously registered for other CRA program accounts like GST/HST or import/export programs, simply attach a payroll account to your existing accounts. If you don’t have a business number, you can register online through the Business Registration Online service, contact the CRA by phone, or mail Form RC1 to your nearest tax service office or tax centre.

What information do you need to set up a payroll program account?

Your first step to opening a payroll program account is to collect the following information about your business¹:

  • The date employees received their first wages
  • Months covered for the payroll of employees’ wages
  • Type of pay period
  • Number of employees
  • Payroll service name (if applicable)
  • Country of the parent company or affiliate, if you have a foreign-owned corporation
  • Name of the franchisor (if applicable)
  • The country in which the franchise’s head office is located (if applicable)

Then collect the following from each of your employees:

  • Social insurance number and name (exactly as it appears on their card)
  • A completed Form TD1, which captures basic employee information and claim amounts to determine how much tax is deducted from their income, also known as a source deduction (Residents of Québec need to use the federal TD1 and provincial Form TP-1015.3-V.)

¹ https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/payroll/How-open-payroll-account.html

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