IRS computer problems shut down tax return e-file system

FILE - This April 13, 2014, file photo, shows The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters building Washington. Although many small business owners hire accountants and attorneys to complete their income tax returns, taxes are a hassle. In a survey released in 2015 by the advocacy group National Small Business Association, nearly 60 percent of the owners surveyed said the administrative burdens were the biggest problems posed by federal taxes. And 85 percent of the more than 675 owners said they relied on a professional to prepare their returns. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS says it has stopped accepting electronically filed tax returns because of problems with some of its computer systems. The outage could affect refunds, but the IRS says it doesn’t anticipate “major disruptions.”

The agency on Wednesday experienced what it is calling a “hardware failure.” The e-file system and the “where’s my refund” service are among the affected areas.

The IRS says some systems will remain out of service at least until Thursday.

Taxpayers can continue to send electronic returns to companies that serve as middlemen between taxpayers and the IRS.

But the agency says those companies have to hold on to the tax returns until the IRS systems are up and running again.

The IRS says 90 percent of taxpayers will receive refunds within three weeks.

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