IRS

Hardware failure brings down tax systems

Shutterstock image. Copyright: stefanphotozemun

The IRS experienced a hardware failure across several systems, forcing the tax agency to suspend electronic filing as tax season kicked off.

"Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems," the IRS said in a statement posted late on Feb. 3.

Affected systems included electronic filing and the "Where's My Refund?" tool. The IRS.gov website remained online.

According to the most recent update on the federal IT Dashboard, the Modernized e-File system hit its target of 99 percent uptime.

In its statement, the agency indicated that systems could be back online today, but an IRS spokesman did not immediately respond to FCW's request for comment.

In the meantime, taxpayers can still submit their returns to tax-preparation companies, which will hold them until IRS systems are back online, the agency said.

"At this time, the IRS does not anticipate major refund disruptions," the statement reads. "We continue to expect that 9 out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days."

The outage is the latest in a long list of IRS tech troubles, including a programming glitch that paid millions in fraudulent refunds and the 2015 breach of the "Get Transcript" web app.

The latest omnibus appropriations bill earmarked $290 million for taxpayer services, fraud prevention and cybersecurity at the IRS.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has called for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to be impeached, condemned the latest outage in a Feb. 4 statement.

"The IRS doesn't have its house in order at any level," said Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "The committee has been long concerned about IT vulnerabilities at the IRS. Under Mr. Koskinen's poor management, problems fester and the American people suffer."

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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