1920 tax forms IRS

As some readers already know, the Polish government is not on the best of terms with modern technology. We'd be damned, however, if that stopped us from trying- even if the end result is as much of a mess as Michał reports it to be.

The story began in 2008, when the government decided it needed some presence on this new hip thing called the Internet. And so, the Electronic Platform of Public Administration Services, or ePUAP for short, was born- a website serving to ease communication between public administration and Polish citizens. It went mostly unheeded until 2011, when the Trusted Profile functionality was introduced- and with it, the ability for people to do taxes, file applications, and submit other paperwork fully online.

Surprisingly, the website worked mostly fine. But soon after the first wave of interest, problems began to appear. Every update led to major downtime. Features such as password recovery would either break or have days-long delays. And, an investigation of a corruption scandal revealed that ePUAP- along with several other services- was the fruit of rather shady dealings.

Michał's story concerns an incident from a month ago, when the whole system crashed and burned. Most users were unable to log in, and the lucky ones who could found that their Trusted Profiles and personal data were missing. It turned out to be a major problem for everyone who elected to do their taxes over the Internet, since the system broke down just a few days before the April 30 tax deadline. Their only other options were to wait several hours in line at their local public offices, get hit with huge financial penalties, or write formal letters to the tax department describing how sorry they were.

The media caught the story, and managed to get a response from the Ministry of Administration and Digitization:

The work on a new version of ePUAP is underway. Maintenance-related downtime is expected. There's nothing alarming about it. Unfortunately, the tests we do can't be fully done over weekends.

Apparently, newfangled inventions such as "testing environments" haven't fully permeated the Iron Curtain. And so, this country-wide platform- holding the personal data of hundreds of thousands of people- is being tried in battle on production servers, during the year's most intense period of activity.

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