Canadians have been given five extra days to file their 2014 income tax returns, thanks to a "human error" at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Last Friday, the CRA issued a statement saying the deadline for filing tax returns electronically was May 5 at 3 a.m. 

That was a mistake.

On Monday, the agency issued a new statement, saying this year's deadline is, in fact, April 30.

CRA memo April 27

(Twitter)

But the damage was done. Too many people — from individual tax filers to tax accounting professionals — saw the first release, assumed it was correct and adjusted their efforts accordingly. 

The deadline is April 30 every year. But it has been extended under exceptional circumstances, like last year's security breach at the agency, or an issue with the CRA website in 2008 that saw users of Netfile tax software unable to submit their returns in time.



Carter Mann, National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay's spokesman, wrote Radio-Canada on Tuesday morning to explain.

"Minister Findlay has made it clear that this incorrect information is unacceptable and therefore she has directed her officials to ensure no Canadians are penalized for the CRA's error‎," he wrote.

"Canadians who file their taxes before ‎May 5th will not face any penalty."

On Tuesday afternoon, Revenue Quebec told Radio-Canada that Quebec, which has its own separate revenue agency, would extend its tax filing deadline as well, because of the CRA's error and subsequent extension.

It is not yet known how the error slipped through, or who procrastinators across Canada have to thank for the brief reprieve.

The full statement posted online Tuesday, extending the tax deadline for all:

On April 24, the CRA issued a communication to some Canadians that referred to an incorrect filing deadline for 2014 tax returns of May 5, 2015, rather than April 30, 2015.

The CRA takes full responsibility for the error and our first priority is to ensure that no Canadian is negatively affected.

As a result, and at Minister Findlay's request, 2014 tax returns filed by midnight on May 5, 2015, will not incur interest or penalties.

The CRA sincerely regrets and apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.