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IRS digital tax filing systems mostly down as midnight deadline approaches [u]

The Internal Revenue Service's electronic filing system has failed for reasons unknown, and the agency has been attempting to solve the problem for nearly eight hours with no success.

IRS Building in Washington D.C.

The systems started to fail early Tuesday morning, with initial attempts to solve the problem not working. The IRS will perform a "hard reboot" of its systems at some point on Tuesday, should all other efforts fail.

"On my way over here this morning, I was told a number of systems are down at the moment," IRS Acting Commissioner David J. Kautter said at an oversight hearing according to the Washington Post on Tuesday afternoon. "We are working to resolve the issue and taxpayers should continue to file as they normally would."

Kautter says that not only are direct filings to the IRS affected, but those using tax preparation software like TurboTax or online services could be impacted as well. The agency hasn't eliminated any root cause of the incident, up to and including a cyberattack.

Kautter believes that "millions, potentially" of filers could be impacted by the outage. All forms, including extensions, that require the IRS electronic filing portal are impacted by the problem.

Error shown at the Direct Pay site

Error shown at the Direct Pay site

"If we can't solve it today we'll figure out a solution," Kautter said. "Taxpayers would not be penalized because of a technical problem the IRS is having."

AppleInsider has learned that the IRS has called in a wide array of third-party contractors to work on a fix for the issue, in addition to calling all of its information technology staff to work on the problem.

The agency came under fire by governmental officials because of the failure in the oversight hearing. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) repeated calls for reforms because of the advancement of technology that the agency hasn't kept up with, and Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) criticized them as well.

"This is game-day for the IRS," said Gianforte. "It seems the IRS can't get out of the locker room."

Update: In light of the technical difficulties, the IRS is providing individuals and businesses an additional day to file and pay. The new deadline for 2018 is midnight on Wednesday, April 18.