The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue withdrew $7 million from 581 taxpayers’ bank accounts because of a ‘computer error’, the Washington Post reported.
According to officials, the tax office inadvertently processed income tax returns from other years, which affected taxpayers who had previously authorized electronic bank withdrawals.
"The unintentional withdrawals are the latest embarrassment for an agency that has tried to make improvements after years of criticism amid high-profile improprieties and questions about how well it safeguards taxpayers’ financial information," the article states.
One D.C. resident, Bezalel Stern, woke up on Wednesday morning to find that $6,500 had been taken from his bank account after he attempted to withdraw money from an ATM. His requests at the ATM were declined because the account had been emptied which resulted in an overdraft fee.
"The money was basically stolen from me," Stern said. "You expect this from the bad guys. You don’t expect this from your government."
The official told Stern his money would be returned in the next couple of days.
"Stern said an official at the Office of Tax and Revenue who took his call Wednesday told him that the error occurred when the office was testing new anti-fraud software," the article said. "The official told him that the office was using last year’s tax filings during the test but that the ‘last step’—withdrawing money from filers’ accounts—was not supposed to happen."