PhotoThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suffered a computer system outage Wednesday and, as a result, has been unable to process tax returns.

“Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems,” the agency said in a bulletin on its website. “The IRS is currently in the process of making repairs and working to restore normal operations as soon as possible.”

The IRS said some of the systems might be available late today. It said it remains in close contact with e-file software transmitters and the tax community while the problem is worked on.

If you are trying to use some of the taxpayer and preparer tools on, you may find they are not available. For example, the Where's My Refund feature, which allows taxpayers to track the progress of their refunds, was knocked out in the system failure.

The agency said taxpayers can still prepare and file their tax returns as they normally would. Taxpayers can also continue to send their tax returns to their e-file provider. These companies will hold the tax returns until the problem is fixed and the IRS resumes accepting electronic tax returns.

The system failure has not affected returns already in the system for processing. The IRS says taxpayers who have already filed their tax returns don't have to do anything else but wait for the problem to be repaired.

At this point the problem appears to be temporary, though its scope is still being determined. But the IRS said it does not expect there to be major delays in getting tax refunds to taxpayers. It says nine out of 10 taxpayers should get refunds within 21 days.

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