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IRS system breaks down just hours before midnight deadline

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The electronic filing system of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) partly failed on Tuesday, just hours before a midnight deadline for taxpayers to submit their tax returns.

The IRS said its Modernized e-File system was experiencing technical problems and the agency was struggling to accept tax returns through H&R Block and software programs such as TurboTax and Intuit.

The IRS Direct Pay website is also down, telling taxpayers that the service is unavailable until “December 31, 9999.” Filers are still able to pay via debit or credit cards, but those options come with additional fees.

The cause of Tuesday’s outage was not immediately known. IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter told the Washington Post that the issue was probably caused by internal technical problems, although he said that a cyber attack could not be ruled out.

Millions of Americans file their tax returns on the final day. Kautter told the Washington Post that taxpayers will not be penalized if they miss the deadline as a result of Tuesday’s outage.

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