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IRS going offline just before Oct. 15 extended filing deadline

The drop-dead filing deadline for 2013 tax returns is just a few days away.

So of course the Internal Revenue Service is putting up a "closed" sign.

Out to LunchOK, it's more like a "taking a long lunch" sign.

But the bottom line is that many of the agency's systems will be offline starting at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.

They will stay unavailable until approximately 5 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Affected operations include:

  • e-Services Transcript Delivery,
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Matching,
  • e-file Application, and
  • Modernized e-file (MeF) and the legacy e-file systems, including both the MeF Production and the Assurance Testing Systems.

"This annual power outage is so IRS can perform necessary maintenance to some systems," the agency announced in a notice to tax professionals. "The IRS appreciates your patience while we perform this routine but necessary maintenance."

Annual bad timing: As the IRS announcement indicates, this is something it does every year around the Columbus Day federal holiday.

Yes, with most of its staff off on the holiday Monday, it's a convenient time to do the needed work under the tax machine hood.

But tax preparers, who are the ones who use many of the down services and therefore are most affected by the maintenance shutdown, can attest that's this three-day weekend generally isn't a holiday for them.

Procrastinating clients are just now getting their final bits of info to their tax pros. And these ultra-last-minute folks also tend to be the cranky clients who want to know that their bad filing habits are taken care of in a timely manner.

The IRS maintenance means that tax preparers now have the added, an unenviable, task of telling these taxpayers that they'll just have to wait.

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Jeffrey W. Schultz

The tax practitioners hotline is going to be a mess tomorrow. Usually it is not to bad early in the morning if you are on the east coast. Most of the west coast is still in bed. But tomorrow there will be a crazy back up.

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