Millions of Americans who put off filing their taxes for months scramble on Tax Day every year. If you're among those trying to file their taxes on Tuesday, April 17, you might be wondering why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website is down on such a big day.
Update: The IRS website resumed functioning as normal on Tuesday evening. The agency announced that it would extend its tax deadline by one day because of the site crash, 'The Washington Post' reported.
Earlier: The IRS website reportedly stopped working around 3 a.m. ET on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, so those who planned to file their taxes online on Tax Day weren't able to do so through the website all morning. "Currently, certain IRS systems are experiencing technical difficulties. Taxpayers should continue filing their tax returns as they normally would," the agency said in statement released later.
IRS Acting Commissioner David J. Kautter told lawmakers on Tuesday that he was informed that the IRS' online filing system had crashed in the morning. "We are working to resolve the issue and taxpayers should continue to file as they normally would," he said, according to The Washington Post, but added that some people's tax returns weren't going through the IRS.
The IRS' Direct Pay page — which lets people pay their tax bill online with their bank account — and its Payment Plan page — which allows tax bills to be paid in installments — were reportedly not working by midday on Tuesday. Paying for your tax bill through the IRS' Direct Pay page is the cheapest way to do so; you don't have to pay for postage if you send in a check via snail mail, pay a fee to a third-party website, or incur a credit card transaction fee.
Kautter said the IRS was having trouble accepting returns from widely-used tax filing services like H&R Block and TurboTax, The Post also reported. TurboTax's spokesperson, however, announced that taxpayers should "go ahead and continue to prepare and file their taxes as normal" with the website. The spokesperson added that its service is uninterrupted and accepting returns online, but that it will "hold returns until the IRS is ready to begin accepting them again."
Kautter said on Tuesday morning that the IRS planned to do a "hard reboot" of its system. However, by 2 p.m. ET, certain services were still unavailable on its website.
Of all days for the site to crash, Tax Day was certainly the worst. IRS spokesman Dean Patterson said that 5 million people filed their taxes on Tax Day last year, according to The Post. Though Kautter explained on Tuesday that he wasn't sure how many people would be affected by the IRS website crash, he did say "it could be millions, potentially."
On social media, many people expressed their frustrations about the IRS site going down on Tuesday. One particular quote from Kautter also stoked fear over the reason behind the site malfunctioning. While he reportedly said on Tuesday that it's "probably" due to technical issues internally, Kautter added that he couldn't rule out any external reason, including a cyberattack, The Post reported.
When asked about the IRS's site crash by a reporter on Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, President Trump's chief economic adviser, appeared not to have known about it. "The IRS is crashing? It sounds horrible. It sounds really bad. I hope it gets fixed," he reportedly said.
While many are troubled that they cannot file their taxes on the IRS site — or with other tax filing services — Kautter said that "taxpayers would not be penalized because of a technical problem the IRS is having," according to The Post.