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PA's tax amnesty program plagued by weak IT and phone support

The state of Pennsylvania launched a Tax Amnesty program that runs April 26 to June 18, but the first day out of the gate is rough one from the technology and customer support perspective.

The state of Pennsylvania launched a Tax Amnesty program that runs April 26 to June 18, but the first day out of the gate is rough one from the technology and customer support perspective.

How do I know? I received one of these tax notices. In a nutshell, I allegedly owe some amount of taxes from 2009. Oddly enough, this is the first I've heard anything from the state about anything delinquent so I'm a bit curious to see what the deal is (statement).

The notice tells me to go to www.PATaxPayUp.com and register or call a toll-free number. And then everything goes to IT and phone hell quickly.

First, I call the number. After all, I'd like to see what I allegedly owe before I register for tax amnesty right?

The call goes like this (short, edited version):

"Thanks you for calling...all of our agents are busy assisting other callers. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please call back later..."

And then.

Click.

PA's department of revenue and its tax amnesty unit (which from the sounds of things consists of one person, maybe two) hangs up on you. It doesn't tell you where you sit in the queue. The voice system doesn't even give you the option to wait for an hour (or two, or three, or four). It just hangs up. Click. Done.

Fortunately, the state tells you to go to the Web site, which is powered by SAP on the back-end. I go through the registration process. Create an account and then go to log on. I'll finally get to see what I allegedly owe. Woo hoo and I've only spent an hour on this.

And then the state delivers another gem---a runtime error.

At least I can contact the administrator should anyone pick up the phone. Oh that's right. Click.

End note: I've tried to log on five times with the same runtime error. On the phone, I've called 15 times (4 just to make sure I got the quote right). Let's hope Day 2 of this program improves.

Update: The same problems persist through Tuesday morning. I pinged Sharon Minnich, CIO of the Department of Revenue, about the issue.