IRS gives taxpayers one-day extension to file taxes after payment site crashes
The "Direct Pay" page, where filers can transfer money from a bank account to pay their tax bill, crashed for most of the day.
by Darla Mercado
The IRS will give last-minute filers additional time to file their tax returns after the web page for paying their tax bills using their bank accounts crashed.
The page was operational again as of 5:05 p.m. ET on April 17 — Tax Day — after being unavailable for most of the day.
The IRS apologized for the issue and said it appreciated everyone's patience.
"This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers," said acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter said in a statement.
The agency said individuals and businesses that were originally due to file Tuesday will now have until Wednesday night.
Direct Pay is a free service.
The "Payment Plan" page, where filers can pay their tax bill in installments also appears to be back online after having crashed earlier.
"I'd strongly advise folks who owe any federal taxes and cannot pay online to mail a check or money order to the IRS to the appropriate address," said Patrick Thomas, director of Notre Dame Law School's Tax Clinic.
Ways to pay
Filers can use the IRS site to pay via a debit or credit card; however, you'll be on the hook for fees ranging from $2 to $3.95 for debit transactions and expenses approaching 2 percent for credit card payments.
You can also pay what you owe with a paper check.
Kautter told The Washington Post that filers wouldn't be penalized if their returns were late due to the site's problems. Normally, you're liable for penalties if you fail to file your return and pay your taxes in a timely fashion.
"We understand that the IRS is experiencing technical difficulties today with the transmission of direct tax return payments," said Richard Neal, D-Mass., the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
"Given this news, I hope that the IRS will make accommodations so that every taxpayer attempting to file today has a fair shot to do so without penalty," he said.
Tax prep providers affected
A spokesperson at Intuit's commercial tax preparer TurboTax said that the IRS's technical difficulties affects all tax preparers and tax returns.
"Taxpayers should go ahead and continue to prepare and file their taxes as normal with TurboTax," the spokesperson said.
"TurboTax has uninterrupted service and is available and accepting e-filed returns," she said. "We will hold returns until the IRS is ready to begin accepting them again."
H&R Block said it will continue to accept returns from filers.
"Despite the IRS outage, H&R Block is open and continuing to process tax returns for our clients," said an H&R Block spokesperson.
"While the IRS system is down, we are completing the returns, which will be sent as soon as the IRS system re-opens and will be considered filed on time."
Here's the full statement from the IRS:
The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is providing taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes following system issues that surfaced early on the April 17 tax deadline. Individuals and businesses with a filing or payment due date of April 17 will now have until midnight on Wednesday, April 18. Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive this extra time.
The IRS encountered system issues Tuesday morning. Throughout the system outage, taxpayers were still able to file their tax returns electronically through their software providers and Free File. Taxpayers using paper to file and pay their taxes at the deadline were not affected by the system issue.
"This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers," said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. "The IRS appreciates everyone's patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation."
The IRS advised taxpayers to continue to file their taxes as normal Tuesday evening – whether electronically or on paper. Automatic six-month extensions are available to taxpayers who need additional time to file can visit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return.