Elite 8
Rebranding advice for the IRS

One keystroke = $38 billion gone

I'd hate to be this guy.

A computer technician was doing some routine maintenance last summer at the Alaska Department of Revenue when he accidentally deleted applicant information for the state's $38 billion oil-funded account, according to this story on CNN.com.

Not only did he kill out info on the Permanent Fund Dividend, the state perk that makes living in all that cold bearable for many Alaska residents, the worker also mistakenly reformatted the backup drive.

No worries. Big government agencies always have backup material, right? Right? Well, Alaska tax officials discovered that the department's backup tapes were unreadable.

File_box_2 At least the department had the original payout info on paper ... in 300 cardboard boxes. Those documents were rescanned to replace the 800,000 lost electronic images.

After much overtime, it all ended OK. For residents, anyway. Last fall, most of the eligible Alaskans got their state oil money rebate checks, which came to $1,106.96 apiece.

The state, however, is out almost $221,000 in data recovery costs.

The application deadline for this year's Permanent Fund payout is coming up, March 31 to be exact. I'm sure every Alaskan will be making their own form copies this time around.

Obviously, you and I don't have financial data of that scale on our computers, but the Alaska SNAFU is good reminder that we need to regularly back up all our PC or Mac files.

If you're using computer software to do your taxes, make sure you regularly hit "save" during the process. And definitely print out a paper copy. Just in case.


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