Millions of Americans were expected to file their tax returns on April 17, the final day day to do so without facing financial repercussions. However, a technological snafu halted the electronic submission process when the IRS website partially crashed. If you're one of many Americans rushing to get their paperwork in and are wondering if you will get fined for a late tax return if the IRS site is down, there are a few things you should know.
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: IRS Acting Commissioner David J. Kautter told House Oversight Committee members on Tuesday that taxpayers whose returns don't reach the IRS on time because of the glitch should not face any penalties or fees, according to The Washington Post.
"If we can’t solve it today, we’ll figure out a solution,” Kautter said. "Taxpayers would not be penalized because of a technical problem the IRS is having."
Spokespeople and IRS officials have told multiple media outlets that the agency hasn't identified what caused the electronic filing service to crash on the day that taxes are due. However, IRS spokesperson Sarah Allen told NPR that people shouldn't wait to file just because the IRS may not receive their paperwork on time.
"Taxpayers should continue filing their tax returns as they normally would," Allen said.
That means that if you're one of the millions of people who use self-service electronic filing systems, such as TurboTax, you should probably still fill out all the appropriate forms and submit your information. Kautter reiterated this instruction to lawmakers on Tuesday.
IRS spokesperson Dean Patterson told The Post that 5 million people alone filed their taxes on the final day. How many people this website crash will affect is yet unknown.
Typically, late filing results in some sort of monetary penalty for the individual who failed to meet the annual deadline. According to the IRS website, late filers and late payers (if you pay taxes instead of having them taken out of your paychecks), result in unique penalties, depending on the situation. Late filing usually results in either a flat fine, or else 100 percent of your unpaid tax, if that number is lower. Not paying taxes has its own fee structure, though the website suggests you file even if you don't quite have the savings to pay your taxes right away.
As for the IRS eFile crash, very few details are currently known. The Associated Press reports that the website failure seems to have popped up shortly before 3 a.m. ET on the deadline day.
The AP also reported that Trump's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters in West Palm Beach that the IRS website crash "sounds horrible." But, he said, he was optimistic, adding, "The IRS’ll straighten it out."
Throughout the day on Tuesday, several parts of the IRS website alerted users that certain tools, such as direct pay or the payment plan option were not currently available. Other users saw messages indicating that the website was undergoing planned maintenance. One message indicated that the website work would be finished in September 2016, while another alerted users that the website would be under maintenance until until Dec. 31, 9999.
On Twitter, users reacted with a combination of bemusement and frustration. Those who had already filed there taxes taunted those who hadn't, wishing them good luck.
"If we can't have a lighthearted moment about the IRS website being not good or very functional on tax day then what are we even doing here," tweeted Hanif Abdurraqib.
Whether the IRS would consider extending the tax filing deadline was not clear as of Tuesday afternoon. There was also no sign of when the outage would be fully resolved.