TurboTax Server Delays Cause Late Filings
Some people who filed at the last minute using TurboTax fell victim to clogged servers.
A California company that makes the popular TurboTax and ProSeries tax software said it expects to hear from the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday whether any taxpayers who used its e-filing system would be penalized for submitting late returns. A flood of last-minute tax filers swamped the servers of Intuit (INTU) on Tuesday, causing hours-long delays in getting forms sent in electronically to the government, said Harry Pforzheimer, a spokesman for the company. “We have talked to the IRS because of the amount of returns we are still filing,” Pforzheimer said. “It’s fair to say the IRS understands what the situation is.”
A record number of returns from both individual taxpayers and accountants started causing delays early Tuesday in customers receiving online confirmation their tax returns were submitted successfully, he said. As the midnight filing deadline approached, the problem got worse. During times of peak demand, Intuit was processing 50 to 60 returns per second, he said. “The amount of filing that has been done today has been absolutely amazing, and we are doing everything we possibly can to expand capabilities of servers,” Pforzheimer said.
While stopping short of promising that filers whose returns failed to reach the government on time would not face late fees, he described the IRS as sympathetic. “Don’t wait until the last minute is the moral of the story,” he said.
In the end, given that electronic filing (not to mention shoddy and overly conservative filing strategies promoted by such software) saves the government a lot of money, my guess is that the IRS will be reasonable about this.