Millions of Americans are now beginning to file their taxes, and some are doing it right from their mobile phone. However, a recent malfunction in IRS government-funded apps prevented many people from accessing the network.
According to the Federal Times, two different IRS mobile apps experienced a “hardware failure” last week, which disrupted access to several key agency services hosted on IRS.gov.
The two IRS programs that were most affected by the hardware malfunction were the e-file system app and the Where’s My Refund app. Both apps allow taxpayers to perform key steps in filing their taxes that involve the transmission of personal information.
The IRS immediately told consumers that its IT team was resolving the issue, though the affected systems were still down for two days after the initial hardware failure. Additionally, the agency released a statement saying that it is still “assessing the scope of the outage.”
“Taxpayers can continue to send their tax returns to their e-file provider; these companies will hold the tax returns until the IRS resumes accepting electronic tax returns,” the statement continued. “Taxpayers who have already filed their tax returns do not need to take any additional action.”
About 62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile had increased sales, and the IRS has also benefited from its new e-filing system. However, this recent malfunction is yet another example of how technology can sometimes make things more difficult.
Despite these sporadic issues, consumers are still using mobile apps to shop more than any other medium. Biz Report recently reported the average person shopping from a mobile app generates 2.6 times more revenue for retailers than desktop websites.
As for the IRS, this latest hardware malfunction is not the agency’s first time experiencing technical difficulties. In 2015, the IRS reported a “significant network intrusion,” compromising the tax records of over 550,000 people.
The agency maintains that it will stay on track with processing returns and does not expect there to be much fallout from this incident.
“At this time, the IRS does not anticipate major refund disruptions,” the IRS said. “We continue to expect that nine out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days.”
The IRS would typically get a pass from the American public for one hardware malfunction, but failing to provide services in the midst of tax season is typically not a great way to build a good rapport with consumers.