IRS computer crash prompts deadline extension

By Alistair M. Nevius
Updated: 

The IRS’s Modernized e-File and Direct Pay systems were not in operation for most of the day on Tuesday, which was the deadline for individual taxpayers to file their 2017 tax returns. As a result, the IRS extended the filing and payment deadline until midnight on Wednesday, April 18.

Direct Pay allows taxpayers to securely pay taxes directly from their bank account. However, on Tuesday, taxpayers who attempted to make a payment were greeted with a message that said, “This service is temporarily unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue.” The Modernized e-File system had a similar message: “The MeF System is currently down. We are working on this as a priority.”

Both systems were back up and running at approximately 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.

Earlier during the day, the IRS website cautioned: “Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available.” Taxpayers were directed to a page listing other payment options.

However, on Tuesday evening, the IRS extended the payment and filing deadlines. Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive the extra time, the IRS said.

The IRS reports that last year, more than 5 million tax returns were filed on the deadline day.

Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter apologized in a prepared statement: “The IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers. The IRS appreciates everyone’s patience during this period.”

Alistair M. Nevius (Alistair.Nevius@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editor-in-chief, tax.

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