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It’s Tax Day. And The IRS’ Online Payment Service Is Down

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Photo by Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

The Internal Revenue Service's headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2016.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

The Internal Revenue Service is experiencing computer trouble on Tax Day, leaving Americans unable to view their tax record or make tax payments as the clock ticks down toward a midnight deadline.

"This service is currently unavailable," the IRS.gov website says on several key pages, including tools to allow you to view an outstanding balance, make a direct payment or set up a payment plan.

"We apologize for any inconvenience," the website says.

Other methods for paying tax bills, including paying through tax-prep software, remain available. The IRS also encourages anyone seeking to file an extension to use a software provider.

"Currently, certain IRS systems are experiencing technical difficulties," IRS spokesperson Sarah Allen tells NPR. "Taxpayers should continue filing their tax returns as they normally would."

The IRS has not identified a cause of the outage, although it says it appears to be a hardware related issue. The agency has not provided an estimated time for tools to regain functionality.

The Associated Press reports that IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter, speaking at a House Oversight Hearing on Tuesday, told lawmakers that the agency is working to resolve the issue.

April 17 is tax day, and the filing deadline is midnight.

Plenty of Americans cut it close to the deadline: According to the IRS, last year, five million tax returns were sent in on the last day of filing season.

In a press release last week, the IRS touted its "new mobile friendly website" as a helpful tool for "people who need last-minute tax information."

"As the tax deadline nears and the demand for IRS tax help by phone is higher, the IRS encourages taxpayers to make IRS.gov their first stop when questions arise," the agency wrote.

People who need more time can file an extension, but that does only extends the deadline for filing — not for paying taxes due. The IRS emphasizes that if you do not make a payment by the deadline you may owe interest or penalties.

If a taxpayer needs a little extra time to pay the tax in full, the IRS urges them to use the Online Payment Agreement application.

That service is currently down.

Other payment options include paying by credit card, by mail or by a bank withdrawal set up through a third party, such as a tax professional or a software program.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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