As you may have heard, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) extended the 2013 personal tax return deadline to May 5th, 2014.
This was due to a security issue, known as the Heartbleed bug vulnerability. This vulnerability affected how usernames and passwords were encrypted when logging into “secure” websites. Thus, allowing hackers the potential to steal private information.
When CRA became aware of the Heartbleed vulnerability, they took steps to protect taxpayers by shutting down all electronic systems, including EFILE and NETFILE. During that time, CRA decided to extend the filing deadline by the number of days that there was service disruption, which allowed taxpayers to file and pay by May 5th, 2014, without interest and penalties.
We are aware of some people who have been charged interest as a result of CRA’s automated mail out systems even though payment was made prior to May 5th. If you have been charged interest or penalties even if you paid or filed prior to May 5th please contact the taxpayer relief department of CRA to have this adjusted or let us know and we can contact them on your behalf.
Although CRA took steps to prevent “hackers” from stealing confidential taxpayer information, they were not completely successful, as 900 Canadian Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) were stolen. CRA has stated that each affected taxpayer will receive a registered letter informing them of the breach. The letter will also include a 1-800 number that they can call to get further information, including what steps they can take to protect the integrity of their SIN, as well as how they can access credit protection services at no cost.
Although there has been a fix for the Heartbleed vulnerability a number of websites have been affected. See link http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/heartbleed-bug-websites-affected/ for affected websites. Accordingly, it is extremely important that you change your usernames and passwords to make sure that you have not been compromised at any time during the Heartbleed vulnerability.
If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 780.466.6204, or [email protected].
Thanks to Johnny Kwong of KWB Chartered Accountants for providing this article.