etax glitch has Canada Revenue stumped

But system was not hacked, insists agency

It’s still lights out for online tax filing. Canada Revenue Agency remained in the dark yesterday about when its servers would come back on.

CRA hasn’t yet figured out what the problem is, but the agency figures it at least knows what the problem is not. According to a CRA spokesperson, the cause of the glitch is definitely not a virus attack or as a result of the system having been hacked.

“What we do know is that we have traced the source of the problem to software maintenance conducted on March 4,” said Beatrice Fenelon. “It’s not because of any illegal activity.”

CRA has suspended online tax filing indefinitely, thereby prolonging any early refund that eager tax filers might have been hoping for. Fenelon said all systems would remain suspended until further notice, and the hold would probably last a few more days.

The spokesperson added that the agency was working to bring all systems back online gradually. The interruption in service means individuals cannot file their personal returns electronically by Netfile, Telefile or Efile.

One million people have already filed using Netfile, and Fenelon remains confident the agency will top last year’s total of 3.8 million. Despite the hitch, she said, CRA was anticipating four million to file electronically this year.

She noted that existing My Account users may still view their tax information, but would not be able to process any transactions.

Fenelon also explained the downtime may have caused some confusion about whether CRA had actually received an online submission of tax returns.

“Once you file your return through Netfile, you get a confirmation number that indicates we’ve received your return. If you have your confirmation number, you do not have to resubmit that return,” she said.

Fast facts on the glitch from the Canada Revenue Agency:

– It is too soon to speculate on whether the filing deadline will be extended. The CRA fully expects to restore all services well in advance of the filing deadline.

– Electronic services for businesses, including My Business Account, are not directly impacted. There are no problems with employer remittances of payroll deductions, Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances, or the Business Number registration system.

– While the system problem affects the processing of many incoming payments, GST payments can still be processed. You can continue to make your payments as follows:

– In person at your financial institution.
– Online using your financial institution’s Internet or telephone banking service.
– By sending your payment to the CRA by mail.

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