IRS Ready 1/1/1999? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

According to the following article found on yahoo...

...the IRS is claiming it will have it's major systems complient by January, 1999. Do I believe it? Not necessarily. Do I believe they believe it? Yes. Would I like to see a lot more from them about this? You betcha.


-- Paul Neuhardt (, October 23, 1998


Two words: Independent verification

-- Arnie Rimmer (, October 23, 1998.

Five words: they have to say that. Whether it's true or not.

If they couldn't promise 2000-ready software by Jan 1, 1999, that's the same as admitting that your tax payments could start being mishandled/corrupted in 2 months, as your 1999 pay-in $$ get verified/processed/refunded in 2000.

If they announced that, two months from now, your tax money and data will be processed by untested software that may render it fubar, ("so call quarterly to make sure we have the same amount in our possession that your paycheck stub says"), they'd be harassed no end by government AND constituency.

What we need are moles, people close to the project who can leak us the truth... because just a couple months ago the IRS was telling a completely different story. The April/May announcements need to be re-examined, and we should ask what wonderful fortune brought us this accelerated compliancy date.

-- Lisa (, October 23, 1998.

Ready by January? What, this coming just over two months? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Sure, and if you look close enough at your tax forms, you can see an apparition of the Virgin Mary too! NACIH

They wasted billions on projects that they couldn't finish. How is it that they can miraculously pull this one off.

-- Craig (, October 23, 1998.

Maybe it's true. You all need a more positive attitude.

-- Believer (, October 23, 1998.

Hey, look on the bright side...we can hope they're not ready---right?

-- Paul Davis (, October 23, 1998.

Just our Luck, the IRS will be the only ones ready for Y2K.

-- Bob (, October 23, 1998.

I can answer this question in 2 words (name that tune, or name that lie comes to mind) IF true

OH NO!!!!!!!!!!

-- consumer (, October 23, 1998.

Maybe they moved the miracle team that fixed the FAA so swiftly over to IRS. Next? The Treasury...then DOD...the Navy... Why, by March, the whole government could be done!

-- Faith Weaver (, October 23, 1998.



$1 billion

Will the public notice now?

-- Buddy Y. (DC) (, October 23, 1998.

Depends on how you "parse" their words.....what's their definition of a "major system"?

After all, they only said their major systems would be compliant, that means that all their general systems and private systems could be non-compliant.

No problem. That leaves only small colonel of the originql problem, should be an easy enough nut to crack.....

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (, October 23, 1998.

There are two government departments that MUST continue to insist that everything is great, even as the rug slides out from under them; DOD, lest Sadman Insane gets the notion that America's smart bombs have been dumbed down, and the IRS, lest people fudge a little.

Do I believe them? I don't believe they believe it, either. But I do believe that they have to say what they are saying.

It's called poker. The only problem is that they're not playing with a full deck.


-- rocky (, October 23, 1998.

If the IRS and the FAA have found the silver bullet, I demand that they release it to the rest of us! Now!

-- Citizen (, October 23, 1998.

Come on you guys! Don't you see? Its the crack team of remediators that fixed Japan and the rest of Asia's Y2K problems last month! The US has finally gotten around to hiring them to solve OUR problems...HURRAY!!!

-- a (a@a.a), October 23, 1998.

Does anyone know where to find out what reports Congress has requested from the GAO? The GAO report on HCFA was highly critical of their progress, and probably right on the money. I'd like to know if Congress has a report coming on the IRS, Treasury and others. I know where to find them once they're released, but what's in the works?

Faith: Hehehe, hahaha! (loved it!) Maybe those guys will finish with the Feds in time to fix a couple dozen private corportations, just for good measure!

-- Mike (, October 23, 1998.

I find it hard to believe that there hasn't been a whistle-blower to date. Look for one (or more) to surface very soon.

What a wonderful world it would be if those who depend upon the taxpayers for their existence were actually accountable.

-- Steve Hartsman (, October 23, 1998.

I'm beginning to suspect that they hired David Copperfield. He's the only one I know who could have made that big of a problem disappear so quickly.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, October 24, 1998.

Won't you all be surprised when the IRS continues to function. I suspect this will be the first compliant organization. As far as Saddam Hussein is concerned, all he has to do is log on to the internet and read what we have access to. If you think Saddam is an idiot about this issue, guess again. I suspect he and others are waiting to make their moves in due time. I bet Slick Willie reads Yourdon's website and he as all our numbers and he's gonna git us!!

-- Believer (, October 24, 1998.

-- consumer alert (, October 24, 1998.

Everyone needs to read the GAO report on the IRS Efforts and Risks for 2000, dated May 7, 1998. ( under reports and testimony page in the Special Interest Publications for Year 2000 Computing Crisis.

Ya know, a year ago (sorry for the history lesson)the IRS ABANDONED their "modernization program" at a cost of 4.2 BILLION because it is non-functional. Now, Mr. Rossotti is going to throw 1 BILLION at the Y2K problem and have it all fixed by January...because, according to the GAO, the IRS will start their compliance testing on January 31, 1999 (first day of the filing season).

This guy should get the Best at Blowing Smoke award.

UNBELEIVABLE...on second thought totally believeable for someone who can suck a year's salary out of the American taxpayer.

-- Larry Olney (, October 25, 1998.

A y2k-aware friend of mine asked his friend who works for the IRS about their computers and she said there's no way the IRS can fix their computers in time.

-- cody varian (, October 27, 1998.

So here is your chance to perhaps a national difference:

Got a call this morning from the Congressman's office, asking about my earlier concerns about goverment (lack of) preparedness, FBI activities against groups preparing for Y2K, and other related issues.

The staffer was very helpful, expressed several specific concerns about the overall issue, but was not yet completely briefed yet in some of technical implications of the upcoming troubles.

She was interested in finding out specific actions that could be done to mitigate the problems, once she understood the degree of of the potential problems.

I told her I would get back to her, and have a better list of actions that the government (federal level) COULD do to minimize trouble, prevent permanent financial or buisness loss, and perhaps improve (reduce the impact) on health, taxes, and services.

I sent the following, deliberately excluding personal freedoms concerns - let that be discussed separately with these guys. But check the list, give me some other thoughts, let me know what I left off, what (if anything) should be excluded.

No reason to assume they will ever actually pass a bill doing this, but they certainly won't consider something not recommended.


27 October, 1998

Dear Ms. ______

Thank you for your time this morning. I appreciate your efforts in getting hold of me, and hope that the upcoming troubles will be slight.

But my professional experience in finding, fixing, debugging, and troubleshooting computer programs tells me that not only are the troubles not going to be slight, but that most observers have not even anticipated their magnitude. Intermittent, irregular and unpredictable losses of power stations, the electric distribution grid, water, sewage, natural gas, telephones, gasoline and heating oil, satellites and ATMs, long distance services (funds transfers and payment) are perhaps the best that we can hope for. Some experts are predicting worse, though I consider myself an optimist: personally, I think that most utilities and services will recover adequately after only a few weeks of irregularities. If there are no riots in downtown areas, then we can get through with only 2-4 weeks of business interruptions and perhaps just a mild recession. If there are widespread riots or fires, the results may only be worse.

At the Federal level, the biggest worry among those of us who are solving the thousands of different kinds of Y2K issues found in our businesses is the lack of preparation for failure: most critically by the IRS (and local tax offices) and the various distribution activities of federal funds. (Let us leave DOD to its own devices, they must solve their own problems, and their problems do not require or cause a loss of individual property. We hope.) We greatly fear loss of business, homes, and our livelihood if the IRS (and other tax offices) is left to their current methods. They (the IRS) have a long history of failing to integrate new computer systems, of being unreasonable and arbitrary in their decisions, and of demanding payments and penalties under dubious circumstances. Now, they are failing to correct their Y2K problems, and appear to be disguising the failure to be ready. The result could be catastrophic as electronic files and electronic tax payments become unpredictable/unreliable/unstable.

So what will happen if I pay (through my regular deduction) but the IRS fails to record payment? If they record payment, but to the wrong account? If I mail a check, but it is not delivered? If they post the receipt, but they write the wrong amount? If they record the right amount, but when the bank sends the other information (about interest) payments, they record the house payments as income and the interest from savings as deductions? If they lose both? If they fail to write a refund check? If they lose my companys matching payments? If I cannot get a income statement from my company, what do I do? If a companys records are messed up, how much does the company pay until can straighten out its accounts?

What protects my family if my bank fails to transfer funds correctly, and so no taxes are paid? The equity funds are transferred, but are lost? They are sent from the bank holding the mortgage, but are lost by the countys or school districts bank? The county system works, but the car tag program fails? The county car tag program runs, but the emission stickers cannot be printed? Can I still be ticketed for not having an emission sticker?

What if a school district or local government loses its tax records? Loses its salary records? Has the records in the computer, but cant enter new information? Cant write checks? Cant post new tax receipts? Cant get equity payments transferred in from the bank? Gets the records, but cant be sure they are registered against the right taxpayer? Cant post the receipts from the banks, and so is going rapidly bankrupt?

What happens if a nursing home or hospital gets no federal/state money for three weeks? How will it pay its bills? How will it pay its employees? Buy supplies? What will prevent it from failure?

If (when) the current delicate structure of networked automatic payroll deductions for taxes and insurance, household withholding, local tax transfers and home equity accounts fail, we fear the power of the IRS to take our homes, or the power of other agencies to foreclose our mortgages or falsely report credit failures. We realistically fear the loss of hospital coverage for our parents and the invalid due to government mistakes, and the demonstrated stubbornness of bureaucracies to correct the problem realistically.

As I mentioned, Y2K is unique in that There is nothing you (the government can do to stop it ... the last time for preventive action was 1996. And Clinton-Gore failed then. Now, we (those of us who actually know how hard it is to do computer re-programming) know they are lying about current efforts in the federal government. Their public statements are lawyer-prepared double-speak that makes no technical sense in the real world. They arent solving a technical problem, but rather (they) the Clinton-Gore are creating a public relations show-and-spin illusion.

But as King Canute found out about the tide, Y2K wont care what is said. It only cares what is done, and what is not done. Y2K troubles will only be solved (or prevented) by concerted, coordinated action by dedicated engineers, testing groups, and programmers in each area. Those very dumb computers continually exchanging funds, economic information, and tax reports between government and industry and the taxpayers, will not (cannot) listen to politicians, they will respond only when re-programmed and tested by workers.

To most quickly get up to speed on the subject, please read TimeBomb 2000 by Ed Yourdon. Warning: more people will want to lie and cover-up the problems than fix them. This effect gets stronger the higher in an organization you go. The pressure to cover-up and distort the state of preparedness (or lack of preparations) in an organization is also greater the closer one gets to a lawyer and the further one gets from a programmer.

I mentioned that the government can no longer solve the problem. There is not enough time any more, given their current late start and lack of progress.

But  there is time to reduce the potentially fatal impact Y2K will have on businesses, taxpayers, and the federal government itself. And those actions you do have control over at the legislative level.

The following EMERGENCY PROTECTION PLAN is made in anticipation of an unknown, unpredictable, irregular (potentially massive) series of computer failures in accounting, receivables, inventory, taxes, payroll, insurance, health and services at businesses and governments nationally. These measures are intended to protect the innocent who are affected by these failures, provide funds to let governments who have lost their computers (and possibly their tax and salary data) to remain active during this emergency. Those governments and agencies who respond early are rewarded, those who require emergency support are protected. Taxpayers are protected against loss by foreclosure from government errors; those who deliberately cheat are punished. Taxpayers who prepare themselves are rewarded (because they are less likely to need government support later); those who require government support for medical and health are protected from government inaction or errors.

There are problems implementing each of these proposals. They are meant to start you and the Speaker thinking about the process of protecting taxpayers, government workers, and government users from the governments own mistakes and errors. They are also intended to penalize the cheats and crooks who would otherwise take advantage of the governments mistakes to pollute, to avoid taxes, and to overcharge the government for false goods and services.

Doing nothing assures failure. Doing something protects people from the government past mistake of being too late, and doing too little.

Robert Cook, P.E. Ste 290, 1090 NorthChase Pkwy, Marietta, GA 30067 CSA, Atlanta (Phn) 770-955-3518 (Fax) 770-956-8748


Emergency Protection Plan

Measures will be effective through the Y2K emergency preparedness period:

1. Eviction shelter (no one will lose a house or get evicted if they make credible efforts to pay.)

2. Tax protection for people/businesses who think they've paid taxes, but have funds lost by others or by IRS. Burden of proof is shifted to IRS/local tax offices to prove no payment was sent. If payment was sent, but not processed correctly, IRS to accept replacement check, and IRS to pay penalty for stopped check/cancellation fees.

3. No penalty/interest in taxes if credible effort made to pay (at least equal to previous year/qtr/monthly payment) Adjustments allowed for up to 12 months with no penalty to the business or individual.

4. Triple penalty if taxes evaded or fraud discovered.

5. 500.00 tax credit/taxpayer for emergency preparedness by individuals (max 1000.00 per household) (500.00 (max) for alternative power, light, water, food, medical supplies.) (500.00 (max) for house insulation/weatherproofing/heating/cooling improvements)

6. Waiver on church/relief group donation/receipt requirements (for gifts towards Y2K shelters less than 500.00)

7. Fed loans guarantees (at 3-6%) to support local government agencies who can't pay salaries/expenses in 2000. Schools = none utility districts = 2-3% cities (under 100,000) 3% cities (over 100,000) 4% cities (over 500,000) 5% counties 4-6 states 5-6

8. Provide Fed loans (at 2%) to local governments to make repairs/replacement/remediation before 2000.

9. Provide Fed loans (at 5%) to local governments to make repairs/replacement/remediation after 2000.

10. Nursing home/Medicare/hospital guarantee - no one will be discharged/refused care due to insurance mistakes - monies to be charged back to insurance companies at 12% interest. (1% per month).

11. Credit report shelter: the credit reporting industry would need to give recommendations; but no one to get adverse credit rating due Y2K failures on account of other businesses/ reporting failures.

12. Fed to make disaster/riot insurance available to businesses/people who lose possessions/homes/businesses due to riots/fires/loss of utilities/other "un-natural" disasters stemming from Y2K. (Catastrophic losses only - Loss of business due to computer failure/recession/business failures would be excluded.)

13. No penalty to any business or utility if emergency operations or emergency controls causes accidental emissions or pollution releases. Emergency delivery of power, water, food, sewage, and transportation services are permitted regardless of any other federal or state pollution requirements or limits.

14. Deliberate emissions or pollution is penalized at triple the current rates.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 28, 1998.

I think we should copy Mr. Cook's legislative proposal(see below October 28th) and send it to our Members of Congress! They are recessed until January, I guess, but it might give some of them the impetus they need. He's provided some ideas to get them started and although we might not support each one at least it gives them somewhere to start! Let's start an email effort!

-- ann cole (, October 29, 1998.



Say the word, Robert, and I suspect that every member of congress will have a copy of your proposal within days.

-- Hardliner (, October 30, 1998.

Send it. Send it to everybody.

Use your judgement on edits, adds, ommisions and deletions. I'd recommend adding a cover letter (your text, with your name, address, and phone) beause they (the Congress people you're talking to) will be responsive locally to you, not to a remote user.

Before or after Nov 3? I'd do before, since after they will either be outside, not worried about your opinion, or newly inside with lots of other things. If re-elected, you've got their attention.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, October 30, 1998.


The synopsis and plan you describe just pegged my panic meter. Do you realize the consequences of enacting some of your measures? (yeah, I know: "but think of the consequences of NOT enacting them")

Your post is starting to make me think North is right...its unsolvable. It would be a lot easier for the gov't to just implement a draconian martial law and let the social and economic cards fall where they may. (ouch!)

TEOTWAWKI may be every bit as inevitable as next year's stock market crash.

-- a (a@a.a), October 31, 1998.

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