Fedwire

Electronic returns rejected

About half of the tax returns H&R Block has filed electronically since January using personal identification numbers have been rejected by the Internal Revenue Service.

PINs are supposed to eliminate the need for taxpayers to mail a signature to the IRS.

Taxpayers could be part of the problem if they fail to properly prove their identities before selecting a PIN.

Terry Lutes, head of the IRS Electronic Tax Administration, said there is no problem with the IRS processing systems and that tax preparers have to learn how to use the PIN system.

Savings drive auctions

A year of experience has demonstrated that online reverse auctions can save the government money, said Manny DeVera, deputy assistant commissioner for service development at the Federal Technology Service.

During reverse auctions, companies bid to sell goods to the government. Prices decline as companies strive to undercut one another.

Buying through auctions has been dominated by the military, but "a year from now, almost every agency will have done auctions," DeVera said.

McCain wants CRS online

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has again introduced legislation to make Congressional Research Service reports available online. Earlier efforts failed over concerns that publishing the reports online might create legal problems for the think tank. A recommendation to cancel a military program, for example, could bring a lawsuit from a weapons manufacturer.

The legislation would have the Senate sergeant at arms post the reports to ensure that the CRS is protected by the immunity to legal action that members of Congress enjoy.

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