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IRS Restores Systems After Hardware Fault

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Oh joy. Processing of tax returns resumes for Americans after a mystery IRS system outage on Thursday

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has restored its systems after a mystery outage on Thursday February 4 that lasted 24 hours.

The computer crash at the IRS reportedly began on Wednesday evening at 6pm EST was only resolved on Thursday at 5pm EST.

System Outage

The outage meant that the IRS was unable to accept electronically filed tax returns, and parts of its website also stopped working

But the IRS said on Thursday that it had now resumed processing individual and business tax returns.

“IRS teams worked throughout the night and around the clock on this system outage,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “Our processing systems are back in business.”

© Elenathewise - Fotolia.com“Taxpayers should see little, if any, impact on their tax returns or refunds,” said Koskinen. “We apologize for the inconvenience this caused, and we appreciate the support and patience from taxpayers as well as our partners in the tax community and state revenue departments.”

The exact nature of the outage remains a mystery, but the IRS hinted it was hardware-related.

“The IRS is continuing to examine the underlying cause of the outage yesterday as well as monitoring any follow-up issues,” it said. “It’s important to note that at this time this situation appears to be a hardware failure.”

Better Than Hack

The news that the IRS can now process tax returns may not result in shouts of joy among most Americans, but at least a system outage is better than a hack, with confidential tax information being stolen.

That is what happened last year, when the IRS admitted that hackers managed to access the tax files for 104,000 people.

The hackers reportedly obtained information such as income, past refunds, mortgages, college loans, employers etc.

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