At midday on the busiest day of the year for the Internal Revenue Service's electronic tax-filing infrastructure, the Modernized eFile (MeF) system has gone offline. Acting IRS commissioner David Kautter informed members of the House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform during a hearing at 10:00am ET that a number of systems associated with tax filings were down and that the IRS is working to resolve the issue. As of 2:15pm, a status message on the IRS' MeF site still read, "The MeF System is currently down. We are working this as a priority."
An IRS spokesperson told Ars via email, "Currently, certain IRS systems are experiencing technical difficulties. Taxpayers should continue filing their tax returns as they normally would."
Individual taxpayers don't interact directly with the MeF system. MeF is only accessible through approved e-filing services, including those offered by software providers such as Intuit and H&R Block. So the MeF outage won't immediately affect taxpayers' submission of returns or result in penalties for late filing. But it will delay acceptance of the returns and could cause problems for the software providers and other authorized e-file providers. There's no word on what the underlying cause of the outages are.