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IRS E-File system crashes on Tax Day, promises to reopen within 8,000 years

The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here. April 17 is Tax Day, America’s favorite holiday, and to celebrate, the Internal Revenue Service experienced an outage. It’s all fixed up now, so congratulations, you can pay your taxes!

Earlier on Tuesday, the website claimed the E-File system was down for scheduled maintenance, with plans to go back up sometime between April 17, 2018, and December 31, 9999.

As Vox points out, it’s likely the E-File outage caused the confusing “scheduled maintenance” error, and it ended up going back up well before its quoted restoration date millennia in the future. The IRS Direct Pay system was also down, so anyone who owed on their taxes was unable to make payments. Again, the system is back up now, so go pay what you owe.

The outage was likely the result of an influx of last-minute tax filings, overwhelming the IRS’ electronic filing system, despite the fact that the IRS sees a massive wave of traffic on Tax Day every year as people scramble to get their taxes in under the deadline.

Reportedly, third party solutions like TurboTax were unaffected, since you can file your taxes through a third party and they’ll just submit them to the IRS’ E-File system when it goes back up.

When we first reported on the outage, the IRS E-File page displayed a simple warning that the system was down.

“The MeF System is down, we are working on this as a priority,” the IRS E-File page warns.

It’s back up now, both the direct pay and E-File systems are fully operational, and it appears the IRS is even extending filing deadlines on account of the unscheduled outage.

“We’ll make sure taxpayers have extensions once the system comes up to make sure they can use it, and it in no way impacts people paying their taxes,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, according to Bloomberg. “It was just a technical issue we’re working through.”

So, to reiterate, you can now pay your taxes online again and you might even be looking at a bit of an extension. Still, probably get in there and file your taxes before the system goes down again.

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Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
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