Happy Tax Day … again. The IRS e-file system that was down for most of Tuesday is back up, but the outage led the agency to extend its filing deadline by a day, meaning taxpayers have until midnight tonight to get their returns in. “Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive this extra time,” the IRS said. The agency said the outage was likely caused by a hardware problem. Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter apologized for the disruption.
The IRS said that, as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, it had accepted more than 14 million tax submissions since its systems were restored.
Some Republicans and conservatives were quick to jump on the outage as an example of IRS incompetence. “It’s game day for the IRS,” said Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), “and it seems the IRS can’t get out of the locker room.”
But many others pointed to the agency’s antiquated IT infrastructure and to years of budget cuts that have affected its performance. Since 2010, the agency’s total budget has fallen from about $14 billion to $11.5 billion, The New York Times reported, and its staff has shrunk by about 15 percent since 2012.
“It’s clear from today’s events that the IRS needs adequate funding to protect and operate its IT systems,” said Representative Richard E. Neal (D-MA). “What you’re seeing today is not just the responsibility of the I.R.S., but of the years of Republican Congress neglect, too.”