Sparks shutter Intuit tax site

Summary:Customers concerned after sparks shut down e-filing system for 24 hours.

People trying to file their tax returns early through Intuit Inc.'s system ran into a snag over the holiday weekend.

The company's electronic filing system was shut down for 24 hours Monday after someone saw sparks in the air conditioning unit in the room housing the system's computers.

During that time, customers were unable to submit any new tax filings or check on the status of a previous one. Some people were concerned that their filings hadn't been processed because they were greeted with error messages at the Intuit Electronic Filing Center, telling them to come back to the site in a few hours.

But Intuit (Nasdaq:INTU) said it shut down the site so that none of the filings would be lost.

"Anybody who filed beforehand was fine," Intuit spokeswoman Jennifer Roberts said.

Thousands of e-filings
Roberts did say that a backlog at the IRS had caused some filings to take longer than expected, but the agency has assigned more people to handle electronic filings.

She also said the problem at Intuit was not caused by this year's increase in traffic.

Intuit is on track to last year's fourfold increase in electronically filed returns. So far this tax season, the IRS has received 625,000 electronic filings from people using tax software such as Intuits.

In 1998, about 20 percent of all filings were done electronically, and the IRS hopes to boost that number to 80 percent by 2007.

Topics: Software

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