Tax Day is stressful enough without a massive computer glitch. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website experienced a glitch on Tuesday, April 17. The glitch resulted in an error message for anyone that logged on with the intention of filing their taxes. Instead of filing with ease, the filer would receive a message that stated the IRS website was undergoing a “planned outage” that would run from April 17, 2018 through December 31, 9999.

The agency blames “system issues” and gave tax payers an extra day to file their taxes.  

Why did the IRS website crash?

Budget cuts likely play a role. The IRS budget has taken a hit in recent years, down by almost 10 percent since 2010.

Although the budget plays a role, tech issues are not a new problem for the IRS. The agency was reported by the Government Accountability Office for 166 outstanding recommendations for IT security and what was referred to as a “reliance on legacy systems, aged hardware and outdated programming languages” by a Treasury Department Inspector General.

Lawmakers are attempting to address these issues. As noted in a recent piece in The Wall Street Journal, the House has made forward progress on proposals that would encourage tech updates within the IRS.

What about taxpayers that still need to file?

The agency provided a one-day extension to compensate for the outage. However, if you have yet to file for 2017 the IRS recommends the following:

  • File. The old “better late than never” adage rings true when it comes to filing taxes. Yes, there may be a late penalty. However, a late penalty is not nearly as severe as the penalty that comes with intentionally failing to file taxes. Completely failing to file can lead to criminal charges and potential imprisonment.
  • Electronic filing remains an option. Last year, the e-file option remained through October 15, 2017. It will likely remain an option for the near future.
  • Payment plan. A payment plan with the IRS may be a viable option if the hesitation to file is rooted in the inability to pay the tax bill.

Those who find themselves considering a payment plan with the IRS are wise to seek legal counsel. Various options are available to bring your tax bill into compliance. An attorney experienced in these matters can review your situation and discuss the options that will work best for your interests.