The IRS said it is assessing the scope of the outage and doesn’t expect delays in refunds.
An unspecified number of online tax processing systems, including the “Where’s My Refund” tool, were down on Wednesday as a result of a “hardware failure”, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in a statement.
“Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams”, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “IRS.gov remains available, although a number of the services on the site are not, including Where’s My Refund”.
Apart from the recent outage, the nation’s tax agency has suffered numerous computer-related problems and issues in recent years.
Tax preparers like Rhonda Lawrence at Liberty Tax Service in Duncan are also pawns in the waiting game.
You can still prepare and file your tax return as usual, and even submit them to your e-file provider of choice.
The IRS says congressional funding cuts over the last five years have eroded its ability to maintain and upgrade technology, to conduct audits and enforcement and to assist taxpayers over the phone.
Although the agency also said there was no evidence of any external involvement in the outage, at least, one IRS critic suggested the computer systems may have been attacked by electronic hackers.
The IRS reminds consumers the agency never will demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
For those who have already filed, no action need be taken, said the IRS. Only 10.4 million returns were filed online during the week of January 31, 2014, and 13.3 million were filed during the week of January 30, 2015.
Taxpayers can continue to send electronic returns through companies that help facilitate e-filing, but they can only hold onto those applications until IRS systems are back up and running. Scammers hone in on consumers who are most vulnerable by looking at specific demographics like income, location, age and citizenship status.