IRS Doesn’t Hire 20-year-olds Because They’re Used to Stuff that Works

One of the most hilarious things for IT people is to hear non-IT people try to talk about computers and technology.  By no stretch of the imagination am I an IT person, but I do see the humor in that sort of thing as well.  Here is 75-year-old John Koskinen in a recent interview with Tax Analysts’ William Hoffman:

[W]e have a huge turnover in people under 30 because we’re not hiring that many. But when we’re hiring them, we’re obviously not keeping them at the rate that we would like….Part of that is because our technology is so abysmal. You take people, young people coming in at 23, 25, 27, and they’re used to….stuff that works. You know, they’re at the high end and they Twitter and they do all of that stuff. When you come into an organization still moving people onto Windows 7 from Windows XP, that’s not exactly a cutting-edge technological group….Now, on the other hand, we’ve proved technological, technology people because we are doing great things. We don’t have enough resources, and we’re way behind what we’d like to do. But, you know, the apps we’re doing — Where’s My Refund, Get Transcript, and that — so we’re pushing various state-of-the-art stuff, which is why I refer to our IT as a Model T with a great GPS and wonderful sound system….And so that’s some extent, so we’ve got some state-of-the-art apps and, you know, really ancient — you know the average age of our IT equipment is 15 years. So we have to be the only serious large organization of a financial institution running with average equipment age of 15 years. So our computers are too old, our servers are too old. You know, we still got stuff in COBOL programming….So that’s the problem at the front end.

I’m not 27 any more and I feel like I am used to stuff that works too.  It would absolutely drive me crazy to work with 15-year-old computer equipment.  I couldn’t work there for 1,000 other reasons, but that would be a big one.

This quote is so full of awesome lines I don’t even know where to start.  My favorite line: “You know, they’re at the high end and they Twitter and they do all of that stuff.”  It is funny to me that the head guy at the IRS says things like this.  I mean, it’s fine, we don’t need a spry young kid at the high end who Twitters or anything.  As long as he can manager other high end people who Twitter, things should be fine.  The IRS definitely has proved technology people and they’re doing apps and pushing various state-of-the-art stuff.  Oh boy, don’t even get me started on the IRS apps, Mr. Koskinen.  They aren’t that good.  After all, it doesn’t make much sense to put a GPS in a Model T if the Model T can’t go 99.99% of the places shown on the GPS.

IRS To Go App Updated: IRS2Go 4.0

I don’t know about you, but when I get things “to go” it is usually some kind of delicious food tucked away in a bag that I will be enjoying at home.  It is definitely not my taxes, or my tax account, or my tax problems!  I don’t want that “to go” with me anywhere!  As you probably know, I’m not a fan of the IRS mobile app (“IRS2Go”) which was originally released in January 2011.  My dislike, apparently, begins with the name.

Today the IRS announced the release of the latest version, IRS2Go 4.0.  Maybe I’ll just let the users explain how bad it is:

    • “Doesn’t work”
    • “Neat looking app, but worthless”
    • “Crap”
    • “Disappointing”
    • “Seriously?!?”
    • “Update doesn’t work”
    • “What do you expect? It is the IRS”

There are some positive reviews, so at least some people have gotten it to work, but the average rating for all version is 3.5 and the average rating for the current version is 2.5.  It definitely looks like there are some bugs to work out in version 4.0.

I’m guessing that the most popular feature of the IRS to Go App is the Refund Status tab. It is clear from reading several reviews that people who downloaded this app are mainly interested in checking the status of their refund.  It is probably also the IRS’ favorite feature since, if it works, fewer refund watchers will be tying up the phone lines.  And while this feature existed in prior versions, you could only ascertain whether or not (and when) your refund was processed.  In version 4.0 there is new functionality that allows you to track the status of your refund much like you would track a package coming to you via FedEx.  According to the IRS it “provid[es] taxpayers an easy-to-use feature to follow their tax return throughout the process.”

Two years ago 350,000 people had downloaded IRS2Go and now apparently that number has risen to 3.5 million.  Actually, the number of users can’t be tracked; it is the number of downloads.  So the 3.5 million likely includes every time somebody reinstalls for the new tax season, and also if somebody deletes it and reinstalls it 20 times because it isn’t working.

I’m sorry for the negative tone of this post.  Maybe I just love bashing IRS tech products. But at least I’m not the only one:

Don’t bother to download.  Since the update the app doesn’t work.  Not even worthy of a star, but I’m forced to give at least one.

~ IRS2Go 4.0 reviewer, Feb 5, 2014