Computer Glitch Delays Taxpayers

Hundreds of thousands of last-minute taxpayers overload the system.
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Several hundred thousand last-minute filings inundated the TurboTax electronic filing service last night, causing servers to crash and leading panicked taxpayers to wonder whether their claims had been submitted on time, if at all.

This morning, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would not penalize taxpayers affected by the glitch and offered a two-day extension.

The IRS will accept filings from those taxpayers affected by the glitch until midnight on Thursday, April 19.

Inuit

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, the company that develops and sells TurboTax software products used by individual taxpayers and accountants, announced today that order had been restored, and it was back to processing returns and customer service queries at its usual rate.

The company assured its customers that filings sent through its software after the April 17 midnight deadline would not be penalized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Customers on the TurboTax online user forum reported receiving the following frustrating message for hours on end when attempting to file through the company:

"The Intuit Electronic Filing Center is experiencing unusually heavy demand and is unable to accept returns at this time. It's not necessary to contact Customer Service or Technical Support. Instead, please try to file your return again later."

On its Web site today, TurboTax instructed customers to be patient and continue to practice that old adage: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Now that its servers are back online and updated, the company recommends checking the site and refiling the return electronically if no status is listed.

After resubmitting, check the status again. Some users will read that, according to their Social Security number, the filing already has been submitted. In this case, a call to the company is necessary to ensure that the IRS has received the documentation.

Inuit warns that the high volume also could mean delayed acknowledgement of receipt from tax-collection agencies.

According to the IRS, by April 17 taxpayers had filed more than 75 million returns electronically, up from 73.2 million a year ago.