Tax Season is Over…Did You Notice Anything Different?{2}

by Alexander H
Tax season is now over and those who filed at the very last minute may be seeing their return much sooner than previous years.  For over 25 years, the IRS has been developing a new database management system to replace the older system that has been used for more than five decades. The new system dubbed Customer Account Database Engine 2, or CADE 2, was finally utilized this year to handle the 2011 tax season.  IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman stated the new system was designed to “enable faster processing of returns and better customer service, while cutting down fraud”.  Perhaps the greatest addition to this system is the fact that all returns are now handled on a daily basis rather than weekly, as it has been done since 1960.  The base of this system was to get rid of code that was irrelevant and get rid of the legacy environments that were extremely complex to process.  By utilizing this system, nearly 60% of taxpayers were able to receive their refunds in eight days or less, which is a big feat considering that is a 30% increase from last year.

This article illuminates the ever changing nature of database management systems.  In class, we discuss the ability to have multiple methods of handling the same goal.  Our project one revealed that there are numerous ways to construct a data model with some methods being more efficient than others. The system utilized by the IRS took nearly twenty five years to develop and required extreme amounts of funding to make sure that every single element balanced the system.  However, this does not mean that the system if perfect.  Understanding that the there are always ways to make a system maximize efficiency is a key element to being successful in database management.

I filed my taxes online this year and received my state refund within a week of processing, whereas before, it would take nearly a month.  Filing my taxes this year has been easier than ever, proof that the new system is indeed doing its intended job.  Obviously the system is not perfect, as a common side effect of faster processing can be more errors. However, if the IRS continues the same track of refining the CADE 2 system, we may be able to see the day when filing your taxes and receiving your refund are almost instant…We can only hope.



Hoover, N. (2012, April 19). “IRS Database System Makes Tax Deadline, Finally.”Informationweek. Retrieved from (Retrieved 2012 , April 21)