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Software Glitch Closes H&R Block Tax-Filing Site

The site won't be back up for 48 hours, company officials say.

H&R Block

(HRB) - Get H&R Block, Inc. (HRB) Report

had to close the doors to the online tax-filing section of its

Web site because of technical problems.

It was not immediately clear how long the site has been out of service.

Some 100,000 taxpayers have accessed the site since its Jan. 21 launch, and it simply wasn't able to handle the traffic, said Gene Goldenberg, senior vice president of software and e-commerce at H&R Block.

Goldenberg said Tuesday afternoon that the site would be back up within 48 hours. Users who already have entered information or returns into the site will not lose their data, he added.

Users who are unable to access the tax-filing site are being offered free downloads of


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, federal tax-preparation software, which can be installed on a home computer, said Goldenberg. The software sells for $14.95 in stores. (If you use the downloaded software, it will cost you $6.95 to electronically file your return. Or you can print and mail your return for the cost of a stamp.)

The outage is an inauspicious start for H&R Block's tax-filing site, which is intended to eventually replace the TaxCut site. Both sites are created by

Block Financial

, the software arm of H&R Block.

But if you began filing your taxes at, don't expect that you can simply finish filing at the TaxCut site. That site will not open for the 1999 tax season until Feb. 5. And besides, data is not transferable between the two sites, H&R Block officials said.

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