IRS systems run into trouble as tax deadline looms

The New York Times

Taxpayers were left scrambling and confused as to what to do after the Internal Revenue Service website crashed and prevented people from filing returns electronically by Tuesday's deadline. So did the system that taxpayers can use to make direct payments from their bank accounts to the IRS.

"A number of IRS systems are unavailable at the moment", Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter said at a Congressional hearing Tuesday morning.

IRS Direct Pay won't accept more than two payments within a 24-hour period, and each payment must be less than $10 million.

"The IRS needs to upgrade its IT infrastructure, not only to help ensure reliable and modern taxpayer services, but also to mitigate risks to the system", Jeffrey Tribiano, the IRS deputy commissioner for operations support, told the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

In his testimony before Congress Tuesday, Kautter said the IRS had prioritized the core filing system in its technology spending.

Previously, Tuesday was the last day for taxpayers to file their tax returns, unless they filed for an automatic six-month extension.

"Of the IRS hardware, 59 percent of it is obsolete", Kutter said.

The IRS announced on Tuesday that it has extended the tax deadline by one day to April 18, 2018.

The issue of overhauling the IRS has been a challenging one for Republicans, who have long criticized the agency for unfairly targeting conservatives. Many filers who use online tax preparation software, such as TurboTax or H&R Block, or pay their taxes directly to the IRS online were affected.

"We apologize for any inconvenience", the website said.

Usually, taxes are expected to be in by April 15 but the normal tax day fell on Emancipation Day, a holiday only celebrated in Washington D.C.

The news release does not specify the severity of the system outage, although it says processing systems are back online. Ron Wyden Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. Online filing is quicker than dropping something in the mail - when the site works, of course.

It also shouldn't affect when you get your refund.

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