Thursday, April 8, 2021

Unlock CRA PDF Forms

Unlock Canada Revenue Agency PDF Forms

It appears that there is a relatively new PDF feature to prevent casual copying and saving of a file and that some programs save PDF files with these foolish features active by default.  Many forms from the Canada Revenue Agency are locked in this way, which makes it difficult to do one's taxes, since one can fill the form, but cannot save it. 

One can only print the form.  It should be possible to print to a file or export it to a new PDF file, but it is far better to reset the annoying anti-taxpayer flags, since the 'printed' form cannot be edited easily any more and I always manage to make a mistake or three that need to be corrected after review.

If there is a Linux (virtual) machine handy, install qpdf and use it to reset the silly flags:

  • $ su -
  • password
  • # dnf update
  • # dnf install qpdf
  • # exit
  • $ qpdf --decrypt lockedfile.pdf unlockedfile.pdf

One doesn't need a password to unlock these flags, so the fix is instant.

La voila!


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