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IRS Online Payment System Experiences Outage

17 April 2018

"On my way over here this morning, I was told a number of systems are down at the moment", IRS Acting Commissioner David J. Kautter told lawmakers at an oversight hearing Tuesday.

The problem is believed to be a hardware failure, and the IRS is rebooting its systems, said a congressional aide familiar with the matter.

In a statement, the IRS confirmed that the problems are ongoing. "Taxpayers should continue filing their tax returns as they normally would".

The agency did not provide details on the nature or extent of the technical issues.

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Kautter explained that the issue was most likely technical difficulties on internal IRS servers, but he said he could not rule out a potential cyberattack or similar interference. The website said it was undergoing a "planned outage" beginning on Tax Day that would last until December 31, 9999.

The IRS has been trying to update its outdated computer systems for several years, and agency leaders have warned about potential malfunctions and said they are guarding closely against external threats. Congress just approved $320 million for the IRS to implement the tax law that passed previous year.

Visitors to the IRS payment site saw one of two messages: One that says the website is unavailable.

The information put at risk included Social Security numbers, birth dates and other data that cyber thieves could use to impersonate a real taxpayer, file a false federal tax return and collect a refund.

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Donald Trump has filed for an extension on his 2017 tax returns. It's also the final day to pay any additional money they owe to Uncle Sam for 2017.

"Tax Day is already a stressful time for millions of Americans, even when everything goes right", said Mr. Neal, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Taxpayers with complicated returns, or those who are just chronic procrastinators, must apply for a filing extension with the IRS by April 17 or face interest charges and penalties.

The IRS typically recommends that taxpayers use electronic filing to avoid common mistakes.

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- CNN's Gregory Wallace and Jeanne Sahadi contributed reporting.

IRS Online Payment System Experiences Outage