back to article US taxmen borked in computer cockup riddle

A computer system breakdown at the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has knocked web-based tax tools offline and held up processing of people's returns. All US citizens, and tax residents in America, must file their annual tax forms by Monday, April 18 for this year. However, right now, the IRS is unable to accept many returns …

  1. GrumpyKiwi
    Big Brother

    Just so long as the computer they use to erase any hard disks with information too embarrassing to be released under FOI requests is working. If that fails then we know it's a massive problem.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs tweaking...

    My guess is the IRS found that a few conservatives were slipping thru without being audited. Gotta fix that!

  3. tom dial Silver badge

    Clearly humor even without the joke alert.

  4. Herby

    April 18th??

    It is on this date (not April 15th) due to "emaciation day" observed in Washington DC. Go figure.

    I thought it was an error but looked it up. Our government works in strange ways. Now if there was a week long holiday around that time it might even be helpful.

    The tax man commeth always.

  5. Dr Scrum Master

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    My sides split in laughter every time I hear about the US tax system.

    Time to file taxes in Singapore? Zero, because IRAS have done them for me. I can just check if I want to.

    Time to file taxes in the UK? A few minutes with HMRC's website.

    1. Hud Dunlap
      Happy

      Re: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

      I used to work with a Scotsman who married an American and moved to the U.S. permanently. The first year he had to file he had a stack of forms on his desk and he was shaking his head saying " What is this Bloody Shit?"

    2. Lysenko

      Re: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      What I never understand about US taxes is all this talk of "refunds". Why are so many people overpaying in the first place??

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Childcatcher

        Re: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

        What I never understand about US taxes is all this talk of "refunds". Why are so many people overpaying in the first place??

        Assuming you're serious -- it's because the tax rate varies by your annual income and you're allowed to deduct certain expenses before the tax is calculated. A prorated part of your estimated tax is withheld from your weekly/biweekly/monthly paycheck. At the end of the year, all your deductions (unpredictable things like mileage, business and medical expenses) are deducted, any profits from investments are added (but these may be taxed at a different rate, depending on how long you've held the investments) and the actual tax due is calculated on the total.

        So, you never know exactly how much tax you owe until the year's over, but you must pay an estimated tax (based on what you earned last year) during the year. Whatever's extra, you get back. Without interest, natch. If you've erroneously underpaid, you owe the difference, with interest, of course.

        // death and taxes, and I'm not too sure about death

        // ask Cratchitt, he knows

        1. Lysenko

          Assuming you're serious...

          Yes, I was being serious. In the UK an employed person typically never files a tax return because it is handled by the employer. That includes pension plans and health insurance etc.

          Things like mileage are only tax deductible if you are self-employed and in those cases you pay tax at the end of the year when all the data is available. The answer to my question therefore appears to be that in the USA you're constantly paying estimated tax bills. That only happens here if HMRC are actively pursuing you for suspected evasion.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Assuming you're serious...

            if tax info was only filed by the employer, how would our government harvest their cut of everything we save, spend, sell and buy? Everyone else would be required to file our tax info as well to make sure we were paying our "Fair Share" (tm)

            it also wouldn't make it possible to blame the citizenry for mistakes. No audits nor fear of audits creating an entire new industry either

          2. Peter Simpson 1
            Thumb Up

            Re: Assuming you're serious...

            ...you're constantly paying estimated tax bills. That only happens here if HMRC are actively pursuing you for suspected evasion.

            Ahh! You see, that's (one) difference between you and us. IRS ASSUMES you're evading and acts accordingly.

            Well, that, and you can't know what your tax will be until all your annual income and deductions have been determined. IRS also doesn't want to get to the end of the year and find that you don't have enough money to pay your taxes. The rule here is that IRS gets their money first, before anyone else can touch it.

            // wish I was kidding

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Assuming you're serious...

              > "The rule here is that IRS gets their money first, before anyone else can touch it."

              You may not be kidding, but you are incorrect. The system of deducting from every paycheck developed as a convenience and because the typical overages to the Fed constitute a huge annual loan to them, which they love. No one is actually required by the Fed to do so and many pay all their tax on April 15th, particularly if their tax bill is large.

              1. Peter Simpson 1
                Thumb Up

                Re: Assuming you're serious...

                Dammit, John, I'm an engineer, not a tax accountant!

                I did not know that. I do know that I am required to make quarterly estimated tax payments, but that's a separate issue (too much income from investments or something).

                Thanks for the info. And yes, it must be a huge loan...interest free.

        2. TAJW

          Re: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

          An added insult is that if you overpay on estimated taxes, you have to report the overpayment (conveniently provided to you on a form 1099-G) in the NEXT tax year, you may have to claim it as additional income and pay tax on it.

          We need a flat tax system. It's easy, first 10K free, everything over that taxed at the same rate. No exceptions for home ownership, multiple kids or education loans. If you do those things, it's on you. The rest of us don't need to support your wants. Why do people find that so hard to understand?

  6. Zorro456

    What is not to trust?

    There has to be a backup system ready at a different location right.........

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      You mean there are TWO IRS's? Screws us all...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is a backup system. It's in Mrs. Clinton's basement.

      1. NotBob

        That wasn't the backup. That's the primary

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Do they really think those creaky old mainframes at the IRS can safely backup Hillary's modern system?

  7. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Someone broke the bank!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020