In response, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that that IRS would "make sure taxpayers have extensions once the system comes up to make sure they can use it and it in no way impacts people paying their taxes. It was just a technical issue we're working through. A high volume technical issue that impacted the system."
The site was back up and running at 5:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Taxpayers now have an extra day to file, with a new deadline of midnight on Wednesday to submit their returns.
During the crash, IRS Commissioner David Kautter responded to frustrations, explaining, "This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers. The IRS appreciates everyone's patience during this period."
He added, "If we can't solve it today we'll figure out a solution. Taxpayers would not be penalized because of a technical problem the IRS is having."
But the IRS still took some flack on social media, with one user tweeting, "IRS Direct Pay is down and not functioning on literally the only day of the year that it shouldn't be down. Nice work, government!"
Another taxpayer took to Twitter criticizing the responsiveness of the IRS, saying, "Hey @IRSnews, why haven't you had anything to say about the IRS Direct Pay outage? Why haven't you provided any helpful information to taxpayers to help them understand their alternate options?"
Other filing methods were also impacted by site's dysfunction, including widely-used third-party tax preparation services Turbo Tax and H&R Block. Both were standing by to file returns for customers as soon as the IRS site was back up and running.
A TurboTax spokesperson instructed that "Taxpayers should go ahead and continue to prepare and file their taxes as normal with TurboTax. TurboTax has uninterrupted service and is available and accepting e-filed returns. We will hold returns until the IRS is ready to begin accepting them again."
This week, the IRS expects the submission of 17 million returns and 14 million extension requests.