E-filing problems plague some Sept. 15 tax returns

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.

Tax practitioners who use two CCH return preparation products reported problems with corrupted files and an inability to e-file returns on Sept. 15, resulting in tax returns that were not filed on time. Due to technical problems with CCH’s e-filing system, users were unable to get their returns into the e-file queue for much of the day on Sept. 15. In addition, some practitioners report that when they opened previously saved returns to file them, in many cases the returns were corrupted.

The Sept. 15 deadline applies to a number of federal tax returns, including Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation, for calendar-year S corporations that requested a six-month extension, and Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, for partnerships that requested a six-month extension. Timely filed elections and accounting method changes are also at risk with these late-filed returns. 

The AICPA has heard from members who experienced the software problems on Sept. 15, and has contacted the IRS to make the Service aware of the issues and to discuss (1) the need for guidance on how to move forward, and (2) possible penalty relief for returns that did not make the Sept. 15 deadline.

On its support website, CCH apologized for the e-file interruption and pledged to work with its customers “to address potential impact from related fees or penalties.” As of 7 a.m. CDT on Sept. 16, CCH reported that its e-filing system was functioning normally. The AICPA advises that any unfiled returns should be filed immediately.

Many members of the practitioner community were already concerned about their ability to meet the Sept. 15 filing deadline because of the global coronavirus pandemic. AICPA members have expressed frustration that, having done all they can to file on time in spite of the pandemic, they now have been thwarted by a software problem.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page.

For tax-related resources, visit the AICPA’s COVID-19: Tax resources page.

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

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