Error—Err.038 CRA: What Does It Mean? (2023)

Have you recently attempted to log into your CRA account only to be met with an error message that says “error—err.038”?

Technical glitches are an unfortunate part of our online financial ecosystem, and errors are often as frustrating as they are frightening.

If you’ve received an “error-err.038 CRA” error message while attempting to access your CRA My Account, then it’s likely due to server-side issues or a potential hack on your account.

Below, I’ll explain a bit more about this error (and others), why you may be receiving them, and how to resolve them with the CRA.

When Does err.038 Happen With The CRA?

Throughout my years as an online entrepreneur, I’ve encountered my fair share of “technical difficulties” with various online accounts. These are particularly annoying when they happen to one of my financial accounts.

Often, my immediate thoughts are that I’ve been hacked or somehow locked out of my account for some other nefarious reason.

More often than not, though, these errors are just the result of poor code, crashes, and other glitches that occur on the backend of online platforms. You have to consider the fact that major financial institutions and government sites (like the CRA) are just as vulnerable to crashes as your favourite social media platform.

Based on my research, err.038 typically occurs on the CRA’s website whenever a new user tries creating a CRA My Account.

However, it seems like several other users have also experienced the same issue when trying to log into an existing account.

Potential Causes Of This CRA Error

If you’re trying to pay your taxes or check on the status of your tax refund online, then you may have received an err.038 error message. Some of the most common causes of this particular CRA error include:

  • Glitches when creating a new account with the CRA
  • Invalid (or unverifiable) information when creating a new CRA account
  • You’ve been locked out of your account for security reasons

I’ll go over each of these items a bit more below, so you can try to pinpoint the main cause of your frustration.

1. Glitches When Creating Your CRA My Account

1. Glitches When Creating Your CRA My Account

In the olden days, accessing your taxpayer information and data was a tedious task, to say the least. In 2015, though, the Canada Revenue Authority launched its online platform – the CRA My Account.

This service allowed all eligible taxpayers to create an online account where they could easily view their tax records, file taxes online, pay CRA debts online, sign up for payment plans, and more.

Although the service was launched some time ago, many Canadians still haven’t registered for a CRA My Account yet.

For the most part, I’ve found the CRA My Account portal to be fast and efficient. However, it’s not always perfect. Some of the most common error and glitch reports occur when new users try to create an account for the first time.

2. Invalid Information When Creating Your CRA My Account

2. Invalid Information When Creating Your CRA My Account

This is related to the first reason. Even if there aren’t any glitches with the CRA’s system, there could be an issue with the information that you’re providing. You could have:

  • Misentered your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Misspelled your name
  • Entered the wrong taxpayer address

Alternatively, you may already have an existing CRA My Account created by your accountant or yourself that you simply forgot about. Trying to create a new account using information associated with an existing account can often trigger an error message.

3. External Threats & Hacking Attempts

3. External Threats & Hacking Attempts

Lastly, you could experience an err.038 CRA error message due to a potential security threat to your account.

In late 2020, the CRA experienced a string of hacking attempts, which compromised over 5,600 CRA My Account profiles. The CRA doesn’t take cybersecurity lightly and responded by temporarily shutting down its online portal to prevent any further infiltration until security had been improved.

Although a major attack hasn’t occurred in several years, the threat is ever-present. Future attacks could result in users getting temporarily locked out of their accounts or being unable to access their data online.

What Should I Do If My CRA Account Has Been Hacked?

Unfortunately, it may be hard to tell for sure if your CRA My Account has been hacked. Perpetrators are often more concerned with stealing information rather than money. Information obtained from your CRA My Account could be held latent for years until it’s sold somewhere on the dark web and used to steal your identity.

If you suspect that your CRA account may have been hacked or compromised in any way, you should call the CRA hotline at: 1-800-959-8281.

What To Do If You Encounter err.038 On Your CRA My Account

If you’ve recently encountered err.038 when trying to access your CRA My Account, here’s how to proceed.

Call The CRA Directly

The most straightforward solution is to simply call the CRA helpline and speak with a representative. You’ll eventually be forwarded to tech support, where you’ll be able to outline your problems to an IT professional who can help you regain access to your account.

The only problem is that the CRA tends to be backed up, and you may be placed on hold for up to several hours.

Complete An Online EI Service Request Form

If you don’t feel like waiting on the phone, you can submit an EI service request form online. Visit the CRAs website, and navigate to the ‘EI Contact’ tab. Here, you should be able to complete a short form detailing your issues.

Within a few business days (or perhaps the same day), the CRA will reach out to you directly. This is usually the best method since you don’t have to wait on the phone.

Wait A Few Days And Try Again

Technical difficulties often resolve themself after a few days once a technician notices the error and fixes it on the backend. So, if you’re not overly concerned about your err.038, then you could just wait a few days and then try again. If the issue still persists, reach out to the CRA directly.

Conclusion – Is err.038 Something To Worry About?

Error—Err.038 CRA

The majority of the time, receiving an err.038 while attempting to log into your CRA My Account isn’t a major issue. It’s often due to technical difficulties or issues that the system encountered when trying to create a new account.

Are you looking for an easier way to file your taxes than going through the CRA? Keep on reading to see my review of Wealthsimple Tax – a 100% free, CRA-approved online tax filing program that makes filing your tax returns a breeze.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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