IRS and Y2K

It’s tax time in the year 2000; the IRS is ready for Y2K as it prepares for busy season

Like it or not, it is time to start thinking about taxes. The Internal Revenue Service sure is. After all, it’s a new century, a leap year and the first year dealing with potential Y2K computer bugs.

If you get notice saying you owe a century’s worth of interest...don’t panic. The IRS thinks it has its glitches taken care of, but you can never be too sure. However, IRS official’s say they don’t expect any major concerns with the Y2K computer bug.

"There are bound to be some problems. I don't think they are going to be the kinds of problems where computers grind to a halt," Charles Rossotti, IRS Service Commissioner, told the Press Democrat.

The Y2K glitch, the result of computer programming that expressed years with two digits, means that uncorrected computers could interpret "2000" as "1900" and crash or garble data.

Talk about computer problems. If the IRS had problems they’d have big ones. The IRS has plenty of computers: 60 mainframe computers, 150,000 personal computers, 48 million lines of computer code and 94,000 software programs. With all those computers the IRS has faced one of the largest Y2K challenges in the federal government.

The agency also had to fix computers dealing with such things as office equipment at its 850 locations and work with businesses with which it exchanges data on their computer systems. In some cases, data entry systems used to process paper returns that date from the 1970s had to be junked because there were no replacement parts or technicians who knew how to work on them.

The systems have undergone several end-to-end tests, including one completed in fall of 1999, and most have already been through last year's filing season with the Y2K fix in place. If problems do crop up, the IRS plans to announce them through the news media and on its Internet site -- -- in the "What's Hot" section.

Total cost of Y2K compliance to the IRS is roughly $1.3 billion.

DATE: 2/11/2000

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