The IRS announced this morning that a hardware failure occurred sometime yesterday afternoon; because of this, tax processing systems are not currently not functioning correctly.
As a result of the failure, the IRS is unable to accept tax returns filed electronically, and may also have difficultly processing refunds; however, they do not believe that “major disruptions” will occur long-term. By-and-large, 90% of taxpayers should still be able to get their refunds within 21 days.
If you visit IRS.gov, the website is up and running by some features are unavailable, such as “Where’s My Refund?” The outage will likely continue throughout the day today. Taxpayers who use services and companies that file their electronic return will see their return filing on hold until the system is properly restored.
E-filing had been restored but the cause remains unknown. The IRS has assured taxpayers that hackers don’t appear to be involved; an IRS spokesman said it looked to be a “power or electrical issue” but did not provide any more substance on the matter.
According to Bloomberg, “The system failure occurred at a center in West Virginia, according to the person with knowledge off the matter. Agency officials were trying to determine if any other facilities were affected.
The IRS website lists several facilities in West Virginia; it wasn’t clear which might have been affected. IRS sites there include at least two “enterprise computing centers” in Martinsburg and Kearneysville and the Beckley Finance Center in Beckley. The finance center, part of the IRS’s chief financial office, processes payments for manual transactions and electronic payment files and helps handle the agency’s general ledger, according to the website.”
The IRS is sure to argue that budget cuts are the reason why such an episode occurred, as basic taxpayer functions have eroded over the past few years. Of course, the IRS scandals that continue to plague the agency don’t help improve its image.