Washington (Jan. 26, 2004) -- A computer glitch that caused thousands of e-filed tax returns to be rejected in the first days of the filing season has been fixed, the Internal Revenue Service said.

The glitch surfaced on Jan. 17, when the IRS began accepting e-filed returns from tax practitioners and individual taxpayers. The IRS said the problem was fixed four days later on Jan. 21.

"At the start of every filing season we put new software in place to reflect the tax code changes," said IRS spokesman Terry Lemons. "There are 55 million lines of computerized tax code involved, which we update before the beginning of every tax year."

"We saw some routine problems arise, which affected a very small percentage of returns," said Lemons. "We've fixed the program language, and have alerted the tax practitioners involved. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused practitioners, but it is a routine part of the tax filing season."

Because of the way e-filed returns are processed, according to Lemons, no interruptions were caused in the processing of refunds. "No IRS-issued tax refunds were delayed because of this," he said.

-- Roger Russell

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