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Computer Problems Plague the IRS on Tax Day … and Bigger Troubles May Lie Ahead

Yuval Rosenberg

A security camera hangs near a corner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington May 27, 2015. Tax return information for about 100,000 U.S. taxpayers was illegally accessed by cyber criminals over the past four months, U.S. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of data thefts that have alarmed American consumers. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It wasn’t a very happy Tax Day for the IRS, which announced it was “experiencing technical difficulties” with some computer systems and temporarily couldn’t accept returns from tax preparers, including big filers like TurboTax and H&R Block. Taxpayers won’t be penalized if their filing was affected by the glitch.

Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin that it was only a matter of time before such a failure occurred as the agency struggles with a reduced budget, smaller staff and antiquated technology. “The question was becoming not whether the system would just shut down one day, but when,” he said. “Each year, there have been more glitches that get handled so nobody sees them, but the system gets more rickety every year.”

But, as Bloomberg reports, the IRS has far bigger issues than just tech troubles and tax refunds.

“Pegged to Tuesday’s tax-filing deadline, Republican leaders scheduled a floor vote later this week on a bipartisan package to retool the agency,” Ben Steverman writes. “If the measure gains momentum, the IRS could face restructuring as it struggles to implement a once-in-a-generation overhaul of the U.S. tax code.”

That only makes it more likely that the confusion surrounding implementation and interpretation of the new GOP tax law will linger for months, or longer.

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