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Computer Foul-up Breaks Canadian Tax Filing System 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the great-white-mix-up dept.
CokeJunky writes "During a weekend maintenance window, the Canada Revenue Agency (Fills the same role as the IRS south of the border) experienced data corruption issues in the tax databases. As a precaution, they have disabled all electronic filling services, and paper based returns will be stacking up in the mail room, as returns cannot be filed at all until the problem is fixed. Apparently on Monday they discovered tax fillings submitted electronically where the social insurance number, and the date of birth were swapped."
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Computer Foul-up Breaks Canadian Tax Filing System

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  • by oSand (880494) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @03:05AM (#18273162)
    ... it's only fair
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Incompetence.

      It was a change?
      Who approved it?
      Was it tested?
      What was the prepared back-out plan?
      Why does the master recovery procedure not work like clockwork?
      Qualification: Most databases are already corrupt/have issues, but not showstoppers

      I'll make a guess.
      1) ETL in there.(Note recovery using ETL is mostly unworkable)
      2) There was no production mirror test environment - test environment and data is a sorry joke.
      3) Contractors doing the data conversion
      4) Database design, edit checks missing
      5) Foreign compos
  • Data Types (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truckaxle (883149) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @03:06AM (#18273170) Homepage

    "Apparently on Monday they discovered tax fillings submitted electronically where the social insurance number, and the date of birth were swapped."

    Sounds like a serious upfront data validation issue.

    However, those two fields should be of a different types and the insert should fail.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      Yes, you are very right. You can bet this is an IT project that will end up in another /. story about IT projects gone wrong. It might be of interest to know that they are not the only group with problems lately? Rogers wireless also has problems. I paid a phone bill (from the US) and when I looked to ensure the payment was registered, it displayed July 3rd as the payment date rather than March 7th. I didn't type in the date value either, it was entered for me.

      It might be coincidence, but seems like data va
      • by sethstorm (512897) *
        Consider that the date was in a different format as well? All they'd have to do there is see when the change was made that flipped those dates and correct them.
      • Looks like a date format issue - US vs... well, pretty much everywhere else. You'd be surprised how many people will store a date as a string in the external representation. I even saw it once including the punctuation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        There is major problems going from strings to dates. The system settings on windows affect all dates even when programming in .Net. So if you have one server set up with mm/dd/yyyy, and another set up as dd/mm/yyyy and convert a string to a date, you get different results. Myself, I always push for dates in the ISO standard format YYYY-MM-DD, which actually makes sense, as the units go from largest to smallest, and it makes the dates easily sortable. I've never understood either of the dd/mm/yy or mm/dd
        • by guruevi (827432)
          Do you have a source for that? If they used .NET with a Microsoft implementation of XSLT (with the ddwrt namespace), you can indeed easily have a problem if a programmer was using a certain standard (American version eg.) and his Canadian counterpart the other standard. I am currently developing something similar and to be honest, the Microsoft extension of XSLT is a pain in the *** if you work with dates/times.
        • by JacobO (41895)
          One hack for your problem is this (and I've seen this in production code:)

          System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCultu re = System.Globalization.CultureInfo.GetCultureInfo("e n-US");

          Of course, in .NET you can use ISO8601 format with the "s" format string to remove the problem, e.g.:

          DateTime.Now.ToUniversalTime().ToString("s")

          Of course, you likely know this already :-)
    • I see you're not familiar with MySQL.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Data types? In my day, all we had was text fields.
      • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @05:27AM (#18273870)
        Text? Luxury!
        We had to convert it to hex in our heads and enter it on paper tape.
        • by PhotoGuy (189467)
          Text? Luxury!
          We had to convert it to hex in our heads and enter it on paper tape.


          Offtopic, but it reminds me of one of my first coding jobs. Most young'un's today don't believe it, but it was programming Z-80 *machine* language by hand, on an APL interpreter that was about 32K in size. Using an assembler was way too much overhead, and slowed us down too much. If we wanted to compare the 'A' register against the value 128, well that was "FE 80" (it's sad that these codes are still in my head, 20 years l
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zapraki (737378)

      I totally agree. If any kind of robust data validation was going on, this should have failed on insert.

      Social insurance numbers are always 9 digits, and can be validated by the Luhn Algorithm [wikipedia.org].

      A date of birth wouldn't be 9 digits by any scheme I can think of, especially formatted as 3 groups of 3 digits, and only a very, very few of them wouldn pass a check of this algorithm.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        A date of birth wouldn't be 9 digits by any scheme I can think of
        Maybe they use the date of birth as a a natural key (or part of one) and the extra digit is in case more than one person is born on the same day. Implausible, right? It would be a "solution" to this [worsethanfailure.com].
      • Just because you've validated the data doesn't mean that you can't store it in the wrong field in the database, especially if both fields are numeric. An 8 digit date will fit into a 9 digit SIN field, and a SIN will fit into a date field if it's one of those "number of seconds since some arbitrary point in time" kind of date fields. However, it sounds from the article that there may be a little more wrong than two swapped fields.

        I just hope they get it sorted out before I'm ready to file. I don't wan
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I don't want to fill out a paper form. This is the 21st Century after all. Besides, I wouldn't even know where to get a paper form.

          Jesus fucking christ. Are you that dependent on internet access that you can't think for yourself? Go to the Post Office and get a paper form. Or go to a tax office and get a paper form.

          But they aren't processing paper forms at the moment.
        • "I just hope they get it sorted out before I'm ready to file. I don't want to fill out a paper form. This is the 21st Century after all. Besides, I wouldn't even know where to get a paper form."

          If you don't want to download it from here [cra-arc.gc.ca], then pick up a package at any post office. They've been there every year for at least twenty one years (and probably much longer). You must be very young, new to Canada, or both.
          • You must be very young, new to Canada, or both.

            Neither, actually. Revenue Canada always mailed the form to me until I started efiling about 5 or 6 years ago. Ever since then they've only been sending me mailing labels. The only address I know is Sudbury, Ontario, which is close to 400km away.

            In retrospect, the post office makes perfect sense. I presume that those kiosks in the malls may have the forms as well.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Social insurance numbers are always 9 digits..."

        While I was doing some research...(I could have sworn that some SS #'s had been issued that were more than 9 digits to foreign nationals on loan to the US military branches)..I came across something interesting.

        Apparently you can get out of paying (and collecting) SS and medicare benefits as a US citizen by filling out this form [irs.gov] .

        Now...all I gotta do is find some of these religions...maybe start my own congregation!! At least you'd know all the members h

        • Wrong country....

          Canada does not use Social Security Numbers. It uses Social Insurance Numbers, which are always 9 digits.
    • "Apparently on Monday they discovered tax fillings submitted electronically where the social insurance number, and the date of birth were swapped."

      Sounds like a serious upfront data validation issue.

      However, those two fields should be of a different types and the insert should fail.

      This belongs on http://www.thedailywtf.com/ [thedailywtf.com] (Now worsethanfailure.com). Its depressing how much stuff on there originates from govenment contracts.

    • However, those two fields should be of a different types and the insert should fail.
      Contract Programmer: But, they're both strings!?
    • by canuck57 (662392)

      Sounds like a serious upfront data validation issue.

      However, those two fields should be of a different types and the insert should fail.

      You would think so. But it is likely a mainframe DB, not SQL and government after all. They probably like enterprise IT figured it worked because it seemed to work.

      But scary that our data is so poorly validated. Proves the mess they are really in.

    • by ergo98 (9391)

      Sounds like a serious upfront data validation issue.

      However, those two fields should be of a different types and the insert should fail.

      We have no idea where in the process this field-swap observation was made. It could very well have been in a middleware service, perhaps doing some transformations on some XML, and might have been discovered because the validation was failing.

      Some shit when awry with a giant system, and some spokesperson gave some general answer that's probably percolated up, in a completel

  • Apparently on Monday they discovered tax fillings submitted electronically where the social insurance number, and the date of birth were swapped.

    In other words, feel free to write off whatever the hell you want this year, because you officially have plasible deniability.
    • In other words, feel free to write off whatever the hell you want this year, because you officially have plausible deniability.

      Not quite, according to their update [cra-arc.gc.ca]:

      • If you have already filed your income tax return electronically, the CRA will be able to determine whether the filing of your return was affected by this problem.

      (I know, the post was supposed to be funny)

  • Party at my place everyone!
    PS. I'm going to write everything off as a business expense.
  • It'd be interesting to know what was the setup that brought to this failure. OS, HW, Application and DB technology involved. I wouldn't want to have the same stuff where I work... ;-)

    e
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I would expect that anybody who could generate a foulup of this magnitude could do it on pretty much any combination of OS, HW and DB.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      Most probably Oracle and MS 2003 servers. The Canadian gov is a total MS and Oracle shop.
      • The Canadian gov is a total MS and Oracle shop.
        Actually that is not 100% true. The Department of National Defense, Environment Canada, the Coast Guard, CSE, and other department and agencies do in fact use Linux, OpenBSD, Solaris, and IRIX in some areas or programs. Admittedly some of those are skunkworks [wikipedia.org] type projects, but they do exist.
      • by thethibs (882667)

        Actually, CRA is an all-IBM shop off the desktop; websphere, db2, da woiks. This is likely not the last little inconvenience they'll suffer; their development staff are a combination of highly experienced Cobol programmers and highly self-esteemed java "software engineers" with the ink still wet on their CS diplomas. Definitely more news at eleven...

  • Has anyone noticed that both instances of the word "filings" have been spelt "fillings"? That mercury-laden amalgam is sure to mess things up electronically :p
  • CCRA (Score:5, Funny)

    by can56 (698639) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @03:20AM (#18273242)
    As a canukian, I have a few comments on this terrible disaster: The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) was renamed CCRA (Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) years ago. Makes sense to combine the two departments. A joke about strikes in Canada: Air Canada (our national subsidized air-carrier) goes on stike? Who cares, we'll walk. The Canadian postal workers goe on strike? (usually before Christmas). Great! It means Visa won't be able to find us! The Breweries (Moslon, Labatts, ...) go on strike? Holy Crap! Rip the furnace out of the basement to make more room, and send all the vehicles you can muster to the beer store and stock up for the winter.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rebel_cdn (605308)
      Actually, it used to be Revenue Canada. Then they combined it with Canada Customs to form the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA). Then they realized it didn't make much sense, and they were once again separated, so now we have the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

      • by can56 (698639)
        I stand corrected. It was once RC, then CCRA, but I missed the change to CRA. But for some strange reason, calls from RC/CCRA/CRA on my phone are still displayed as from CCRA. Can't anyone get these damn computer/phone systems to tell the truth?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Obsi (912791)
          I'll sum this all up as CRAP.
          Canadian Revenue Agency Problem.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Yes, many government agencies rename themselves every 3 years in order to get an extra budget bonus to change all their stuff over to the new name. This includes business cards, websites, and a bunch of other stuff. I worked for one organization that seriously changed names not because they took on any more or less responsibility, but just because they thought the new name sounded better and they needed something to do.
    • "As a canukian, I have a few comments on this terrible disaster..."

      What terrible disaster? Let's just fix the current mix-up for the incoming data, keep track of which data was tainted, and keep the data input going.

      In the meantime, the DBAs will figure out ways in which they can reconstruct the lost data. They may not be able to reconstruct all of it, but with some creative thinking and some careful supervision -- they should be able to reconstruct 99% of it. Just to give one example, they should hav
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        That would require that most of the people working on these systems not to be complete idiots. Having worked in the government sector, and knowing some people who work in different government agencies, I can estimate that about 80% of people working in the government have absolutely no idea what they're doing.
    • by saforrest (184929)
      The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) was renamed CCRA (Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) years ago.

      No, actually Revenue Canada was renamed the CCRA, then in 2003 it was split into the CRA and Border Services, after the Americans kept running stories insisting we were letting in terrorists by the boatload.

      A joke about strikes in Canada: Air Canada (our national subsidized air-carrier) goes on stike? Who cares, we'll walk. The Canadian postal workers goe on strike? (usually before Christmas). Great! It means Visa
  • How frickin difficult is it to accept a chunk of data, validate it, and insert it into a database? I bet the guru who pulled off this blunder is f!@#ed for life now!

    NEO: So you're Trinity, the one that f!@#ed up the CRA database?

    TRINITY: Would you like poutine with your back-bacon sandwich?
  • Dammit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by webax (1034218)
    F*$#. I just filed my taxes last Friday with this system. I just checked their web page, thank goodness they have an information bulletin that the system is down for maintenance with absolutely no information about whether my return was affected or not.

    I'm sure I'll get a nasty call a couple years from now, with a few thousand dollars in fines attached. They will attempt to convince me it was my fault taht they screwed up my information. How do I know this because I've spent the last 4 years trying to

    • Actually even if you sue, you will not get interest, because tax refunds will not carry refunds for the same reason CRR of a bank with the Central bank does not earn interest.
      For the inefficient Govt., its interest-free money.
    • I had a fun one too a couple years ago. I submitted my return as normal, and was getting a big return, a couple grand (was in college). A year after I got my cheque, I get a letter from the CCRA saying I owe $900. Apparently the T1 I submitted, and the T1 my employer sent the CCRA, did not match. I talked to work about it and they confirmed there was a screw up the year before and a couple months were not reported on the T1. Of course my employer refused any help in the matter, and I did owe the money as t
  • by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Thursday March 08, 2007 @04:36AM (#18273644) Homepage
    How long before phishers setup a mirror or three of the Canadian IRS and begin collecting SSNs and birthdates? They'll have the data in the right columns I'm sure. The grammar and spelling on the other hand...
  • Bad computer! BAD! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by waynemcdougall (631415) <slashdot@codeworks.gen.nz> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @05:19AM (#18273840) Homepage

    Computer Foul-up Breaks Canadian Tax Filing System

    How long must we put up with these computers fouling up our systems? We've been taxing people for hundreds of years with no problems worth mentioning [wikipedia.org].

    Bring back trustworthy, reliable humans and we will have no more of these computer foul-ups.

  • I ask because MySQL is notorious for silently accepting data that shouldn't otherwise "fit" into a column. In the case of an SSN being inserted into a date field, it would probably just set the date to "0000-00-00" without the slightest complaint.

    • by duffer_01 (184844)
      I am pretty sure they use Oracle as most of the Canadian Government has standardized on that DB.
      • by nostriluu (138310)
        I don't think they can really standardize - or would want to. I was involved in a project with Foreign Affairs a few years ago where we used MySQL. At that time a big worm - Slammer - hit MS SQL and we watched all the online services go offline one after another because they all had a vulnerable setup. Ours, of course, was fine.
    • how do you know that there won't be 10,000 months, with 100 days each, or in Europe, the other way 'round?

      Forward thinking, I think.
  • DST patch broke CRA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Adeptus_Luminati (634274) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @06:05AM (#18274056)
    According to this reliable source (Canadian Globe and Mail national newspaper), it was a maintenance patch applied on March 4th that broke CRA's (Canada Revenue Agency) website.

    Yesterday afternoon, the VP of IT at my company called a 2.5 hour emergency meeting to review our entire DST patch process across all systems to ensure all issues are on track & resolvable - the reason for the emergency meeting? Somebody told him that that CRA glitch was triggered by problematic Microsoft DST (daylight savings time) patches. Our internal MS IT techs confirm, the patches are not exactly simple, or easy to apply and at the last minute some patches have been re-patched or "upgraded" to newer versions, requiring one to uninstall earlier 1.0 patches.

    Can anybody site a source that confirms the CRA's glitch was indeed related to DST?

    Adeptus
    • More likely the ghost of Mr Wilson...
      An 'Old government of Canada' used to defer processing returns until after budget delivery [ especially in election years ] to make its performance look better. A few months later, when the budget had to be restated, nobody was noticing. In 1992 [ Wilsons last kick at the can ] it was billions.
      Same tactic, new scapegoat.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      problematic Microsoft DST (daylight savings time) patches AFAIK, it was a DST related patch problem, but not Microsoft's. The CRA's tax systems are not on Microsoft Windows. It's all mainframe and SunOS based. (Disclaimer, I work at a department that has ties with CRA, but not at CRA.)
    • by hey (83763)
      > problematic Microsoft DST patch

      So they are using Windows - yikes!
    • Why on earth are you doing Maintenace patching during the busiest part of the tax season? All these systems should be DO NOT TOUCH till the filing deadline at least.
    • Yeah, we had a Charlie Foxtrot on a Windows 2003 server here. It was the DST patch.

      When I saw that CRA had a "glitch" on the same weekend as the IT guys here applied the DST patch, I thought, "Well now, that's either an amazing coincidence or I'll be reading about it on /."

      It is unlikely that CRA will say the problem was the patch, even if it was.

      The question is, "Will we save more energy switching the DST than we consume by switching the DST?"
    • by Stone316 (629009)
      I would be very surprised if its DST related. The type of error they have described seems to be the way they are processing the returns. We've applied a fair number of the DST patches on many different configurations and we haven't seen a problem. That includes different flavours of unix, windows, sql server, oracle , db2, etc. etc. In most cases the patches are pretty simple.
    • ... Microsoft ...

      Ah, we've isolated the problem.

  • ...paperless office. Neat concept eh!
  • I used to work for a brokerage and had to deal with Canadian unit trusts, similar to mutual funds. The way they reported tax info was by submitting a excel file. They often submitted multiple files with conflicting information, it was largely in the wrong format ( which was not validated by the Canadians ), and had conflicting internal information. And they wonder why they have problems. Needless to say, I was shocked with how poorly it was run.
  • The Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN) is nine digits long, with the last digit being a check digit (uses IBM's old "12" system). Last time I checked, full dates were eight digits (well, at least for the next 7,992 years they are). Should be an easy matter to flag the corrupted records.
    • by Nos. (179609)
      From what I've read and heard on the news, the issue isn't fixing the corruption, that was fairly simple. The issue is finding out HOW those records got corrupted and fixing that, so it doesn't happen again.
    • Oh?

      What if I filed on 020070127 and have a SIN of 020070308?

      Both of those will fit (with truncation) into either field, and bot of those will also logically resolve to usable data no matter which field they get encoded into.

      • There are no valid SINs starting with 0. Though I think the CRA can assign fictitious SINs starting with 0 to people who don't have SINs. (Since you can't work without a SIN, this would be pretty hard.)
  • Does this mean that I'm going to get a huge return this year? :)
    • That depends on if their computers also swapped the fields for "amount you owe" and "amount of refund".
  • DST Patches? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rohar (253766) * <bob.rohatensky@sasktel.net> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:19AM (#18275100) Homepage Journal
    Revenue Canada has been saying that there is a mess up in data parsing of the .TAX text file. It seems a little coincidental that we patched all of our servers for the DST changes on the same weekend as Revenue Canada did "maintenance".

    Does it seem reasonable that I.T. at Revenue Canada would apply code changes at this time unless they were forced to? Generally, the system is only used for a few months of the year. What they are saying doesn't make much sense from the I.T. Operations point of view.

    We have change freezes during any busy periods.

    Of course, this statement could be influenced by my large refund that was already filed being put on hold and my distaste for tying H.A. systems into Windows boxes. _grin_

    • by rohar (253766) *
      Woops.

      I didn't see the previous comments on DST pathes due to having my threshold turned up. Kudos to the earlier poster and whoever modded them up

    • by rohar (253766) *
      I take it back. Contrary to the newspapers regarding previously filed returns, my return that was eFile'd on Feb. 25 was processed and the refund was just direct deposited.

      I love you Unknown CCRA IT Guy! smmmooochie woooochie!

      Apologies to the Beach Boys:
      We'll have fun, fun, fun 'cause I got my tax refund today. Aaaawooooo Awooohoohoohoohoo

  • by Tastycat (1003898) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:40AM (#18275300)
    My mother works for the CRA, so I hear stories all the time about how they try to do things improperly.

    A recent story is about the problems they're having with the change in the DST date.

    Essentially, because the CRA is still on Windows 2000 systems they have to patch it themselves. So they write the fix, and then they instruct the accountants to leave their computers on and unsecured at the end of the day so that the IT guys can update their computers. Which means that anyone walking by could potentially have very easy access to any of the information about anyone in the Canadian Tax system, and it would be blamed on the individual whose computer they were using.

    On top of that, the IT guys got about a third of the way through these updates before they realized that their patch was flawed and now they've decided to fix the problem with the following three measures:
    1) Have people set their appointments an hour off, so as to counteract the time change.
    2) When emails are sent they are now requited to post times as EST or EDT. My mother had a woman comment to her, "Like I know what time zone I'm in."
    3) Upgrade to XP when they can get a deal from M$ for a cheap enough price.

    The DOT is worrying over Vista, and the CRA can't set the clocks on 2000. Sometimes I get worried about things up here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I happen to work at CRA in the IT department and there are several things you should know....

      Yes, we still run Windows 2000 and indeed Office 2000. The reason CRA has not moved to XP is because CRA is waiting for Vista to stabilise and for Longhorn to be released (for common patches, "stability(for what that is worth)" etc) EVEN THOUGH CRA/CBSA has an enterprise licensing structure and XP is the same cost as 2000 per license, we are not ready for it yet. We run *hundreds* of applications for both CRA and CB
  • by landoltjp (676315) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:49AM (#18275382)
    I can certainly understand why the systems administrators want to keep the CCRA machines in the best state. However, messing with them at this particular time is rather ... well, let's go with skull-crushingly stupid.

    Returns from across the country are going to be coming in. hundreds of thousands of returns will come through the online submission systems. Those machines should've been frozen at Christmas. The Bank that I used to work at had a freeze on their, c machines right near (or after) Christmas in preparation for the onslaught of transactions related to RRSP (US-401K) season).ulminating the lat week of February.

    I'm not sure when the DST patches came out for the affected machines, but it seems that they would've been more intellegent about when they were applied.

    Plus, no fail-over plan? No back up services? (or were they patched at the same time?) no roll-back? Uhm, naw, we'll just shut 'em down. Yes that works. I mean, who would mind?

    • I can certainly understand why the systems administrators want to keep the CCRA machines in the best state. However, messing with them at this particular time is rather ... well, let's go with skull-crushingly stupid.

      From what I have seen within the Government of Canada in general is that because the employee numbers tend be largest under the Desktop Support / Helpdesk sections of the IT departments, the managers from Desktop support tend to become the bosses within a governemnt department's IT branch.

      It sounds like normal Desktop support managers approach to server maintenance.

  • It did precisely what the analysts and coders told it to do.

    But a headline like "Programmer Foul-up Breaks Canadian Tax Filing System" wouldn't be very newsworthy.

    A headline like "Programmer Gets Canadian Tax Filing System Just Right" would be newsworthy. And astonishing.

    • by radarsat1 (786772)
      Sure, the programmers may have messed up the patch some how, but the IT guys installed it on production without proper testing. During a period of heavy system use. Both are at fault, but moreso the latter.

      What I want to know is, how does this affect me if I haven't filed my taxes yet?
      Should I do it now, or wait a few weeks?
  • ...that I got my T4 early and filed my taxes a couple weeks ago.. even got my return last week. :D

    • Good for you. Spend it quickly ;-)

      I'm wondering - does this foul-up mean that there will be an extension on the filing deadline?

  • In a few weeks, I bet we see a very interesting posting at The Daily WTF about "John Smith" who worked at the tax agency of "an unspecified industrialized nation"...
  • I wish people would stop saying things like "The computer screwed up", or "A computer error lost my file". These are people errors - the poor computer is innocent. At some point some carbon based life form gave the computer erroneous instructions, and it was "only following orders".
  • Does that mean that Canada taxes Mexicans? That explains everything!
  • But my birthday really is 123-456-789! It's about time they fixed their discriminatory calendar restriction!
  • This CBC article [www.cbc.ca] says that over the weekend they performed 20 maintenance operations that cause this.

    Their web site says that they traced the source of the problem to software maintenance conducted on March 4, 2007 [cra-arc.gc.ca].
  • I'm actually impressed this sort of crap doesn't happen more often with the hordes of code imbeciles that have flooded the market in the last decade, a lot of them ending up in government roles or other big businesses, anywhere a lousy coder/admin can easily hide among the crowds. They don't hire many good IT staff because, well, it's hard to tell a good coder from a bad one until they've ruined a few of your projects (or pushed them to a level of greatness that brings tears to your eyes - riiiight).

    I woul
  • H&R queue (Score:3, Funny)

    by hey (83763) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:40PM (#18277490) Journal
    I read that H&R Block is still doing people's returns but just queueing them on their own system.
    When CRA is back up H&R will send the backlog. So CRA will get days of traffic in a minute.
    What could possibly go wrong with that?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by taigatanima (785161)
      Ahhh, H&R Block... The wonderful people who cheerfully informed me several years ago that I didn't need to report my student loan as income. THAT went over well.

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