If you’ve dragged your feet on filing your taxes, here’s some good news: the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline this year to April 18th, an extension of one day past the original deadline. It appears that so many people waited to file their taxes until the last day this year that the IRS computer systems were overwhelmed, and taxpayers who wanted to access their accounts or pay their tax bills were unable to do so online. Thus, the deadline has been extended. So if you were pulling your hair out and fretting about a penalty for a late filing, you’ve been given a reprieve.
Electronic filing has become the most popular way for Americans to file their tax returns, rising from around 31% of returns in 2001 to 92% of returns in 2017. One would think that the IRS would have the server capacity to manage that inflow, since the number of e-filed returns has been above 90% since 2015, yet somehow that wasn’t the case this year.
One thing you can guarantee, however, is that IRS will use this debacle as an excuse to try to get more funding. The agency has complained for a while that it is underfunded. And the passage of the Republican tax reform bill has led to even more complaints that the agency lacks the funds to overhaul itself and the tax code as Congress intends.
Part of that may perhaps be due to how late in the year the tax reform bill was passed, being signed into law just days before the end of 2017. So the agency certainly was under the gun once the bill went into effect. Of course, the agency also conveniently overlooks the fact that many of its workers put in a lot of work around tax time and then spend months twiddling their thumbs. But shifting resources around to make more efficient use of them isn’t the way government agencies operate. The more inefficient they are and the more money they spend (waste), the more they are praised.
All that aside, enjoy the extra day of a grace period and breathe a long sigh of relief that you won’t have to do this again until next year.