IRS Announces Summer E-File Closures for Tech Upgrades

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 9, 2019

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The IRS announced that its IRS Modernized E-File system will close twice this summer as the service makes technical upgrades, according to Accounting Today. One shutdown will occur from July 18 to July 22, and the other will occur between August 3 and August 5. In both cases, it will begin from midnight the first day to noon the last. During this times people should not make submissions to the system. The IRS said it will issue a bulletin once things are back in order.

The IRS has long been plagued with technological issues, mainly due to insufficient resources. A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said that this has prevented the IRS from taking on projects that would reduce the cost of tax administration as a whole. When a work order was denied from the IT department, it was usually because the work was a discretionary rather than mandatory request, or that there were insufficient funds to complete the request. While the majority of work requests, 83.5 percent, were approved, almost always for maintaining already existing infrastructure, the 7.8 percent of requests that were denied still had an impact on tax administration. For example, the IRS submitted funding requests for an additional $4.1 million in both FY2016 and FY2017 to update the IRS system to enable taxpayers to electronically file amended returns, though due to the high cost of this initiative and competing priorities, these requests have not been funded. However, TIGTA noted that manually processing these returns carried $63.5 million in additional costs between FY2013 and FY2016. TIGTA also estimated there are billions of dollars in erroneous refunds due to lack of systemic verification of these manually processed returns.

TIGTA recommended that the Chief Information Officer coordinate annual meetings with business operating division executives and IRS chief officers to discuss priorities in allocating IT organization resources. TIGTA also recommended that all key work requests are submitted through the IT organization’s tracking system and that a process is established to track estimated and actual resources needed to complete a work request by system or application. Finally, TIGTA recommended that internal guidelines be updated to ensure that the information documented in the work request tracking system accurately reflects the status of the request, the IRS system or application to which the request applies, and the reason for the denial of the request.

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