IRS Service Outage 2016

On February 3rd, the IRS tax filing servers suffered a hardware failure that caused an outage of certain parts of its tax processing systems. The computer failure affected the IRS new e-file system. Fortunately this happened on February 3, not on the day of the tax filing limit.

IRS E-File Online

The days after, most public facing systems seemed to be back online. For example, the Where’s My Refund?, now appears to be back online. Also the service failure, did not affect the preparation and filing of tax returns.

The next day, the IRS announced that the processing of individual and  business tax returns had resumed. As the investigation into the outage continues, it appears to be a simple hardware failure and that no computer were hacked. The IRS expects no refund delays and specified that: “We continue to expect that 9 out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days,”. This is good news for tax payers who are expecting a refund. Their refunds should arrive on time.

Lessons For The Tax Payer

A good lesson from all this is that you should plan to file your tax return as early as possible. The earlier the better.

If that’s not possible, it’s a good idea to do a ballpark estimate of your tax owed or refund using one of the great online tax calculators. If you find out that you are going to owe money, it better to send a check before the tax filing limit date to steer clear of interest charges and penalties.

File Your 1040 Early!

Starting early is always preferable. This way, you’ll have a good idea if you owe or will get a refund early. Plus, you will make sure you can locate all your receipts and forms before mid-April. This way when it comes time to e-file, there won’t be any surprises. Outage or not.

On the good side, if you estimate that you’ll be getting a refund, that is probably the best incentive to start filing early and send in your 1040!

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