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Government United States Technology

IRS 'Direct Pay' Option Not Working on Tax Day (cbsnews.com) 139

An anonymous reader shares a report: Online payments on IRS.gov are partially down. But the government still expects its money. A page on the IRS website that allows taxpayers to make a payment is not working for many as of Tuesday morning. Clicking on "Make a payment" on the payments page redirects the user to a page titled "unplannedOutagePage. Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available," the page notes. UPDATE 04/17/18: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Associated Press that online tax filers will get an extension due to today's website outage.

IRS 'Direct Pay' Option Not Working on Tax Day

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  • I often wonder if these government institutions actually live in the real world.

    The common sense thing to do if their payment system is broken would be to postpone the due date for payments!

    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @11:53AM (#56452359)

      Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check. The YouTube video for how to address and stamp an envelope will be the first in 2018 with a billion views.

      • Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check.

        I don't think you understand what cursive writing is. Or if you do, can you tell us what you think it has to do with writing a check?

        • Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check.

          I don't think you understand what cursive writing is. Or if you do, can you tell us what you think it has to do with writing a check?

          You use it to sign your name. I guess you could always just "make your mark" with an X.

          • A signature is you writing your name. This can be done with any form of writing. There is no legal requirement for cursive. A signature isn't really for identifying the signer, but rather to signify agreement.

            • There is also no legal requirement for you to take your hat off indoors or offer to take your shoes off when entering someones home. I still expect people to do both though.
          • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

            You may use it to sign your name, but I don't to sign mine.

            I heard this argument about teaching cursive (how will children learn to sign things), and thought it was so stupid I changed my signature to be all caps and printing.

            I have not had a single issue with it.

          • You use it to sign your name.

            No, you use it to write text using traditional implements such as quills, dip pens or fountain pens. Quite coincidentally, yes, some people are in the habit of writing their name in regular cursive when asked for a signature.

          • But don't sign your checks "XX" because that's kind of girly.

          • Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check.

            I don't think you understand what cursive writing is. Or if you do, can you tell us what you think it has to do with writing a check?

            You use it to sign your name. I guess you could always just "make your mark" with an X.

            Lots of people use a personal mark. I certainly wouldn't call my signature cursive. Ever since my father berated me about my penmanship of my name in grade school, I looked how he signed his name and have written First letter + long squiggle ever since. Collecting checks for pizza delivery when I was in college, I saw lots of weird signatures, squiggles, and signs, but none of the ones I checked on at work came back as bad. I remember one that was just a weird looping of ovals like from a spyrograph that th

        • Found the millennial who's never written a check.

          Outside of a signature, checks are only reason most people use cursive.

          • Found the millennial who's never written a check.

            Outside of a signature, checks are only reason most people use cursive.

            Fou d the idiot. I've actually been writing checks for 40 years. In block hand writing, like every single bank had requested me to do so for the last 40 years.

            You actually write checks in cursive instead of block? How precious your time must be, snowflake.

          • Found the millennial who's never written a check.

            Outside of a signature, checks are only reason most people use cursive.

            Google 'check writing' and you will see that all the examples use block, and not cursive. Apart from wikihow and their ripoffs.

            Back when there were tellers who had to manually process checks, you would get cursed at for cutting a check in cursive.

          • Other than my signature, I have never used cursive to write a check. I haven't used cursive for anything at all since I got out of public school and was no longer required to use it.

            I hand write so seldom that it's a miracle my hand printed writing is the slightest bit legible. My signature at best is consistent and unique, I would not call it legible.

            • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

              This is why cursive is useless.

              All but the best cursive is almost opaque to other (the one that didn't write it) people, the worst pritning is very legible.

              Cursive is a very minimal speed inprovement (about 30%).

              Schools should drop cursive, and maybe teach shorthand.

              Shorthand is also illegible to the non writer, but it is very fast, and is not a useless skill.

              • Schools should drop cursive, and maybe teach shorthand.

                I dunno...if nothing else, it seems to be good training for better eye-hand coordination and exercise...

        • Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check.

          I don't think you understand what cursive writing is. Or if you do, can you tell us what you think it has to do with writing a check?

          Ahhh ... I think this is the first time I literally "LOL"ed over an web post!

          It can't be real! It's too perfect!

        • It's typically used to fill out a check because it is hard to alter. It's also used for your signature, unless you are a millenial in which case your hand would cramp up writing that many letters. ;p

      • You may be overestimating how many people live in the US or how many of them are millennials.

        • Um, there are 83 million millennials. In theory, they should all be paying taxes. Even if only 2% of them waited until the last minute to file, we're in the millions.

      • This misses the whole point that this system failed on the due date for a mandatory payment. It also misses the fact that a lot of people don't bother with having printed checks any longer. It even further misses the point that not everyone can just bail from work and run to the post office to get that postmark and still have a job. While we crack wise about cursive, they've been raised paperless by the same schlubbs that are giving them shit for being raised paperless.

        • This misses the whole point that this system failed on the due date for a mandatory payment.

          While I agree that is a hilarious example of a government IT fail, there are other ways to pay. If you waited until the last minute to file and your only consequence is that you need to run an extra errand I'd say you're still doing pretty well. You can always send it in the next day and suffer the practically non-existent penalty. Hell, my state tax is going in a day late because I forgot to have my wife sign it and she won't be home in time. If they come at me for the fine it will be $0.02.

        • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

          Most people have had 3 months in which this payment could have been completed. And if they're able to spend their day at the office doing taxes, they can probably also bail from that same work long enough to go to the post office.

        • The IRS service may be down but services that let you ay via credit card (like pay1040.com) are still functioning.

          But yes, it's pretty bad for the fee-less IRS service to die today, they should publicly announce an extension to pay until the next full day the service is up.

      • "How to Read Words" - 2028

        "How to Wipe Your Ass" - 2034

        "How to Wipe Properly" - 2035

      • Millions of millennials will need to learn cursive writing so that they can fill out a check. The YouTube video for how to address and stamp an envelope will be the first in 2018 with a billion views.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] 315k views already.

    • by atrex ( 4811433 )
      Payments post marked today still count as being paid on time.

      What I don't get is: Why are so many people so lazy about getting their taxes done? All the necessary paperwork should be in a person's hands by mid-February, that gives people two full months to get off their butts and get it done. If they wait till the last minute out of laziness, well, technical difficulties forcing them to go outside their comfort zone and actually mail a check is the price they may just have to pay.

      It's quite common for
      • by Anonymous Coward

        because i don't want to pay the fucking slavers till the last day possible!

      • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

        Why are so many people so lazy about getting their taxes done?

        Why do people think that completing work prior to a deadline, when there is no incentive or bonus to doing so, is laziness? If it's done before the deadline, it counts the same as the one done two months ago.

        If they wait till the last minute out of laziness, well, technical difficulties forcing them to go outside their comfort zone and actually mail a check is the price they may just have to pay.

        And the price for those in charge of the systems e

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Not-a-Neg ( 743469 )

        Basic economics, the longer the money is in your savings account, the more money you earn in interest. Also, after Christmas, it takes a few months to save up enough to pay the Obama white slavery tax (health care tax penalty,) thankfully that will be removed next year.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I often wonder if these government institutions actually live in the real world.

      The common sense thing to do if their payment system is broken would be to postpone the due date for payments!

      No, they live in the real world. If you ask any accountant, they say to never pay on the due date - you always pay a few days ahead because you know what? Crap happens. Systems go down, and if they're going to go down, as someone who works in the IT field, you know it WILL go down when you need it most.

      So every accounts

    • I often wonder if these government institutions actually live in the real world.

      The common sense thing to do if their payment system is broken would be to postpone the due date for payments!

      "Common Sense" doesn't usually have much to do with whether or not a solution will work in the real world, because even simple problems can have complex constraints. I am not sure offhand where the due date is set. If a delay requires a change to a law or federal regulation it may not be quite that simple.

      It also looks like credit card payments are still working (albeit with transaction fees).

    • I often wonder if these government institutions actually live in the real world.

      More than you might think. They are well aware of the ways in which people try to game the system. If all it took to get the date postponed was to take down a website how long do you think it would be before some black hats started attacking every IRS webpage they could find?

      The common sense thing to do if their payment system is broken would be to postpone the due date for payments!

      Or you can just request a deferral. It's easy and you just have to drop it in the mail by today. Or not be lazy and wait until the last possible second. If you roll the dice on doing things last minute that is on you and isn't the

      • by XanC ( 644172 )

        Wrong, you can get an automatic extension, but you still have to pay anything you owe by April 15 (or 17).

        • Wrong, you can get an automatic extension, but you still have to pay anything you owe by April 15 (or 17).

          Not exactly true. There are penalties for not paying by that date but you don't actually have to do it. You also don't have to pay the complete amount either and you can set up a payment agreement with the IRS if you are having trouble paying. And you can pay the amount owed by phone, online, or by sending a check with the appropriately dated post mark. Not that hard.

          In any case the point is that if you wait until the last possible day and things go sideways you really only have yourself to blame.

    • by jbengt ( 874751 )

      The common sense thing to do if their payment system is broken would be to postpone the due date for payments!

      No, the sensible thing to do is to drop a check in the mail. As long as it's postmarked by the due date, you're considered to be paying on time.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Drop by your bank on the way home, pick up a check, then put the check in an envelope and post it to the mail by midnight. This is once a year people, and not a surprise.

      If you want to bitch, bitch about the fact that the greed of HR Block and related agencies have created a world where we have to waste money and time just to make these corporate monsters rich. For the vast majority of us, the IRS could prefill our returns, state out refund amounts, and deposit it to the same accounts we used last year.

    • I'm afraid that the "real world," the one without all the roses (the one that includes slavery, among other things)... just wouldn't be the same without the IRS.
  • or else...
    • or else...

      The check is in the mail....

      IF you owe the IRS money, why would you not just write a check and mail it to them? IF it's postmarked before it's due, you paid on time. They don't charge you extra for a check (assuming it doesn't bounce) and you keep your money for a few extra days where it might just draw interest (assuming you have interest earning checking.)

      IF the IRS owes you a refund, why on earth didn't you file in February (or the day after you got your W2)?

      • by GoTeam ( 5042081 )
        I don't think I told anyone to not pay. I took care of mine months ago. I got a little refund out of it, so I didn't play it perfectly, but I can live with that. Sure, I could have had less withheld so I could invest it on my own and make some extra money off of my tax money, but still, I can live with the way I do it for now. However, if you do not pay the man, get ready for some pain... thus... "or else..."
  • fine (issue penalties) to people for paying late!

    • fine (issue penalties) to people for paying late!

      As long as the fine payment system stays down too, you'll be alright ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BlueStrat ( 756137 )

      [A great new source of government income]...fine (issue penalties) to people for paying late!

      To be fair, April 15th is the cutoff date for filing return forms and any other appropriate forms along with any taxes owed (besides any you're filing proper forms to defer). It's not like April 15th is a surprise or that there is not adequate time. According to the law it's the taxpayer's responsibility to make certain the required forms are filed and any taxes due are paid on time. I'm pretty sure the ToS on the IRS "Direct Pay" web page says, in so many boilerplate words, essentially the same thing and t

      • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

        I'm pretty sure the ToS on the IRS "Direct Pay" web page says, in so many boilerplate words, essentially the same thing and that 100% service up-time is not guaranteed.

        This was designed as a convenience, not as a way to perform as a 'Hail Mary play', last-minute, guaranteed way to save yourself from your own irresponsibility, stupidity, and procrastination.

        Yeah, we'll call it a "convenience," with a TOS designed to save the government from its own irresponsibility, stupidity, and procrastination.

        Now stop c

      • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @02:49PM (#56453823)

        To be fair, April 15th is the cutoff date for filing return forms and any other appropriate forms along with any taxes owed (besides any you're filing proper forms to defer). It's not like April 15th is a surprise or that there is not adequate time.

        I did our taxes a month ago, using the government's "Free Fillable Tax Forms" website [freefilefi...eforms.com]. Also using that site, I scheduled our payment to be withdrawn from our bank account today. The return was accepted by the government.

        Now as of right now (11:46am PST), the government hasn't pulled the money out of our account. I don't know if this is because of the outage or not - but in the past it's happened early in the day.

        But, in any case, I did not wait until the last minute, and I used a 100% IRS-approved-and-managed system... yet this still may affect me. I would argue that I should not face any penalties if my pre-scheduled payment is delayed by a government server outage.

        (to be fair, we have no idea whether or not the IRS will apply late penalties related to payment delays caused by this outage).

      • by bongey ( 974911 )
        2018 tax due date is April 17. Life married to a tax accountant, the joy of watching CSPAN on a friday night watching senators debate a tax bill.
  • There is this service, controlled by the government, that delivers letters. Letters from anywhere in the USA to anywhere else in the USA. It even delivers letters to and from other countries.

    Amazingly, as long as your tax payment is postmarked on or before tax day, the IRS considers it on time.

    So get out your check book (assuming you remember what this is and have one), write a check and mail it.

    • I hear that many post offices in major cities will even be open LATE to accept your return/payment. In Dallas, the main post office has accepted tax returns up until midnight making the late filing at 11:59 PM central on tax day possible.http://about.usps.com/news/state-releases/tx/2017/tx_2017_0413b.htm

      Good luck!

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by gnick ( 1211984 )

      The problem is players like Amazon abusing this service. They're literally treating the USPS as their "Delivery Boy". As if the USPS had nothing better to do than spend all day making deliveries.

      • The problem is players like Amazon abusing this service. They're literally treating the USPS as their "Delivery Boy". As if the USPS had nothing better to do than spend all day making deliveries.

        I'm sorry but I can't tell if you are joking or really upset that services think that USPS should spend all day making deliveries/

  • Government websites like this usually have planned maintenance windows right in the middle of whenever you need to use them. They also tend to make the login process more arduous if you haven't logged in recently, which you always deal with because you haven't actually needed to use them since the last quarter or year's tax date.
    Oh, and if you have to do password recovery because of this? Good luck, you may have just missed your opportunity for on-time payment.

    At least you can just "mail a check" to the IRS

  • This year, I couldn't resist sending all tax money on Friday, April 13. That's four days early, which is highly unlikely to cause a problem for a taxpayer.

  • Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available,"

    Sorry, what? If their payment infrastructure is down, then any lack of payment is the IRS' fault until they have it back up and have provided an extension for the number of days there was an outage during the expected times that a payment could be made....

    The government will have no defensible basis to claim that anybody failed to pay, when the payment was due during days when IRS' ability to accept the payments w

    • ... an easy stance to take on /. . Arguing that in front of an auditor, well you have more kahunas than I.

      Pages 74-75 of the instructions [irs.gov] offer a half-dozen ways to pay. As long as at least one is available, I am pretty sure I can guess how that discussion would go.

  • I'm due a refund (as I have for ever so many years now). I must've missed the part that covers the IRS Direct Paying _me_.

    • by bongey ( 974911 )
      Which means you need to adjust your withholdings, it means the government earned interest income off of your money throughout the year. Getting a refund each year is not a good thing.
      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        If you get a refund of $1200, that means you overpaid by $100/month. IF you are lucky, your bank will pay you 1% on your savings account. If you reduce your withholding by $100/month, at the end of the year you will have earned a whopping $5! Woo-hoo! Where will you spend all that?

  • It costs more money to use the service (1.82%) than you get back in rewards points on your credit card. Anyone who uses this needs to give me financial power-of-attorney because I will manage it better... for a nominal service fee.

    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      If you use the Chase Freedom card and Paypal option on these sites you are getting back 5 points each of which is worth 1.25 AA miles which are worh 1.5 cent each so you get 10% back and pay 1.82%. How about you giving me a financial POA

      • Well, does that let you float the money for a month or does it do the automatic withdrawal from your bank account? And big whoop about air miles. Air miles are scam to begin with. Can't get any flight you want and any seat you want and it's not really dollar-for-dollar equal.
        And why would I want to give you a piece of ass? ;-)

        • by ghoul ( 157158 )

          POA=Power of Attorney but you knew that
          The Ultimate miles you get from a Chase card can be transferred to air miles but they can also be used through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to buy cash tickets with no blackout dates with 1.5 cent per point (if you have the Chase Reserve, 1.25 if you have the Chase Preferred).
          Air miles are valuable to folks who like to travel. if you dont like to travel this might not be for you

  • IRS direct pay is just one method to make a payment. A check attached to the return, post marked before the Tax Day (April 17 this year) is a valid method to pay the tax, not very onerous, and is not vulnerable to denial of service attacks.

    It is very much possible enemies of IRS, both foreign and domestic have a hand in this down time.

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