Electronic tax-return glitch fixed Computer problems briefly made the state unable to accept filings from home computers or by phone.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
February 9, 2000
Electronic tax-return glitch fixed Computer problems briefly made the state unable to accept filings from home computers or by phone.
By Thomas Martello ASSOCIATED PRESS
TRENTON - State officials say computer gremlins that gummed up the works for some taxpayers trying to file via home computer or telephone are gone.
State Treasury spokeswoman Mary Lou Murphy said yesterday that "computer hardware problems" had been the culprit.
Some taxpayers late last week were frustrated when computer glitches stopped them from filing their returns by personal computer. Then some taxpayers who were trying to file returns by touch-tone telephone were cut off.
Gearing up to receive an estimated 3.75 million tax returns through April 17, state officials certainly don't want problems with this alternative method of filing returns. They say such returns are less costly for the state government to process, and more convenient for residents to file. Electronic filing is also becoming more popular because it speeds up the turnaround time for a refund by about two weeks.
Last year, 3,500 people filed New Jersey tax returns with home computers and 176,000 by phone. An additional 285,000 filed electronically through tax preparers.
Nationally, the number of people filing federal taxes on computers rose more than 150 percent last year.
In addition to tax returns, residents will have to apply for their property-tax rebates, a system that tied up phone lines for a while last year. Murphy said the state had not finished working on this year's version of the application process, but she said it would be easier for one big reason: Most of the information on property taxpayers was gathered last year. Thus, taxpayers who have not moved will simply have to confirm information, rather than enter it again.
Last year, the NJ Saver program doled out $136.7 million to 1.19 million property-tax payers. The average check was $120. This year's average will be $240, and Murphy said officials expected more people to apply.
Gov. Whitman's proposed state budget calls for $336.7 million to be doled out in property-tax rebates under the program.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), February 09, 2000