How The IRS “Hardware Failure” Could Affect Your Return

UPDATE: The IRS says that it has resumed processing individual and business tax returns at 5pm on Thursday.

It’s the time of year many of you are thinking about filing tax returns. But the IRS has announced a hardware failure, and 24- hours later we still have few answers about what caused it.

The bigger question for all of you is how will this affect my return. We talked to local preparers to learn more about the delay, and whether you should hold off on filing.

As a single dad with 4 kids, Vandell Morehead is eager to get his tax refund soon. So when he found out today about the IRS hardware failure, he was worried about how a possible delay could affect his finances.

“It’s going to be hard but all we got to do is sit back and wait. We play the waiting game till they get the glitch out I guess,” said Morehead.

Tax preparers like Rhonda Lawrence at Liberty Tax Service in Duncan are also pawns in the waiting game.

“I’d say every 15-20 minutes I’m looking to see if they’re back online,” she said.

Today she had to explain to customers why the checks aren’t in the mail.

“The customers are a little freaking out, we’ve had two phone calls already wanting to know about their checks if we’ve got em, and as soon as we answer the phone we go into this, well, the IRS is down right now, they said never mind don’t even check on it, we understand, so they’re being really understandable about it,” she said.

Normally when a return is transmitted to the IRS a preparer will know if its accepted within 15 minutes, but here’s what’s been happening during the outage. You press transmit, wait a while only to learn there are zero acknowledgements.”

In a statement on the IRS website, the agency provided some hope for electronic filers, saying “we continue to expect that 9 out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days.”

By this afternoon, the agency had still provided no explanation of what caused the failure. And the HTTPS was crossed out with a red line in the URL of the “where’s my refund” section of IRS.gov a page that is usually secure where taxpayers enter their social security number.

“You get used to government type things being behind and slack and things of that nature, but yeah, it’s a little shocking to hear they don’t have their game together at this point,” said tax payer Charles Matthews.

Still tax preparers recommend you not cancel appointments and continue to go through the filing process. They can securely save all the information in their systems and press submit as soon as the IRS e-filing is back online.

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