Canada Revenue Agency employee accesses tax file without authorization

A complainant alleged that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) contravened the use and disclosure provisions of the Privacy Act when a CRA employee accessed his tax file in 2005 and 2006.

The complainant became suspicious that his tax files were being accessed when he learned that several people within his community had gained intimate knowledge of his financial information including his exact salary. After making a personal information request to CRA, he received an audit trail report of his T1 tax account showing all accesses to it over more than six years.

Upon reviewing the audit trail he recognized the name of a CRA employee who had made two accesses. Specifically, the employee accessed the following personal information related to the complainant: Social Insurance Number, income and deductions, employment and income slips, filing history, children’s information, address, date of birth, and marital status.

Our investigation revealed that the employee accessed the account without authorization and beyond the authority and requirements of his position. Accordingly, the complaint was deemed well founded. CRA has confirmed that the employee no longer has access to taxpayers’ information.

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