The astonishing inefficiency of the IRS

I owe taxes on a previous tax year. I just sent payment for the most recent tax year, and specified very clearly to which year it was to be applied. In response, I got a letter stating that it had been applied to the other year, and that I had overpaid. They further informed me that it would take 6-8 weeks to determine if I still owed taxes on any other year before they could issue a refund. So, meanwhile, the year on which I attempted to pay is overdue and getting fines, and the year that I had a nice happy payment plan for, is paid off, and I’m short $500 while they attempt to do a database lookup.

How could it *possibly* take 6-8 weeks for them to determine whether I have other tax debts? That degree of inefficiency is simply staggering.

In all my recent dealing with the IRS, I am increasingly persuaded that they are incompetent bumbling fools working with (at least) 30-year-old technology to solve a problem that doesn’t need to be solved. I’m sure that a database containing records for 200+ million people is no small matter, but 6 weeks to query my account to see what I owe? Is it any wonder that tax fraud is such a big problem?