The system the IRS uses for electronic filing crashed Tuesday morning, hours before the filing deadline.
In a statement that didn’t specify the extent or cause of the outage, the Internal Revenue Service said taxpayers should continue filing returns as usual. The agency is having difficulty receiving returns from tax preparers, including large companies such as TurboTax maker Intuit Inc. and H&R Block Inc., acting IRS commissioner David Kautter told House subcommittees on Tuesday. […]
TurboTax is still receiving returns and will hold them until the IRS is ready to accept them again, said Ashley McMahon, a company spokeswoman. […]
The IRS has long operated aging computer systems, and the agency’s leaders have been pressing for updates.
“It is important to point out that the IRS is the world’s largest financial accounting institution, and that is a tremendously risky operation to run with outdated equipment and applications,” then-commissioner John Koskinen told Congress in 2015. “Our situation is analogous to driving a Model T automobile that has satellite radio and the latest GPS system. Even with all the bells and whistles, it is still a Model T.”
That has remain unchanged in the past three years. Congress has been slashing funding for the IRS since Republicans took the House in 2010, forcing big staff reductions there and making it harder and harder for the agency to upgrade and maintain its systems. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the IRS has been cut 22 percent and has lost about a quarter of its enforcement staff, about 14,000 employees. The omnibus spending bill that passed last month did include a $320 million increase for the IRS for the next two years, but that’s dedicated to implementing the new tax law. It also cut “all other IRS funding by $124 million, leaving overall IRS funding a full $2.5 billion—18 percent—below the 2010 level, adjusted for inflation.”
So if you aren’t able to electronically file your taxes today, thank your nearest Republican congressperson. They did that.