Tax-day computer crash prompts IRS to extend deadlines

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.

Editor: Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS's Modernized e-File and Direct Pay systems were not in operation for most of the day on April 17, which was the deadline for individual taxpayers to file their 2017 tax returns. As a result, the IRS extended the filing and payment deadline until midnight April 18.

Direct Pay allows taxpayers to securely pay taxes directly from their bank account. However, on April 17, taxpayers who attempted to make a payment were greeted with a message that said, "This service is temporarily unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue." The Modernized e-File system had a similar message: "The MeF System is currently down. We are working on this as a priority."

Both systems were back up and running at approximately 5 p.m. ET April 17.

Earlier in the day, the IRS website cautioned: "Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available." Taxpayers were directed to a page listing other payment options, with no relief from the payment and filing deadlines.

Finally, late on April 17, the IRS extended the payment and filing deadlines. Taxpayers did not need to do anything to receive the extra time, the IRS said.

The IRS reported that it received more than 14 million returns between the time it started accepting returns again on April 17 and 9 a.m. on April 18.

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