Last minute tax filers suffered a shock when trying to file their tax returns or pay taxes on the due date of April 17. Many users received an error message of “unavailable” from the IRS website.
After a hardware error caused a computer breakdown on the tax filing deadline, the agency offered a penalty-free extension. Taxpayers do not need to do anything to get the extra day. You now have until midnight Wednesday April 18, to file and pay or ask for a six-month filing extension.
Apologies and a renewed request for needed resources
The IRS apologized for the inconvenience on the busiest tax day of the year.
And on Capitol Hill, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee mentioned the need for a bipartisan bill to create and fund a strategic plan directed at IRS technology needs.
This is not the first time that the aging computer systems (“hardware two or three generations out of date,” according to former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen) have come up. Agency leaders have been warning about possible malfunctions and growing external threats for years. It was getting past the point of if to when.
Millions of tax returns come in during the week of the deadline (approximately five million on the due date in 2017). Glitches are exacerbated by this volume as the system becomes more rickety each year.
While the timing of the outage was right out of worst case scenario planning, it might finally result in funding for a strategic, long-term plan that addresses IRS computer systems.