Turbotax reported going down at a crucial time. This should be expected by all of us. I finished my personal taxes on Saturday. This was purposefully done because some experiences from a decade ago. I encountered the last-minute panic of a submission gateway fail to operate properly. This was in the early 2000s and it was the last day to submit taxes late at night. We all wait until the end right? In this case I finish up around 10pm and I’m online trying to mash a button. At this time I’m sure the system had a very large number of people mashing the button at the same time. And why not? We all delay things to the last-minute especially the unpleasant things.
You can imagine what happened here. Overloaded servers, new service, it was like a denial-of-service attack but a natural thing. In the end I printed out the taxes signed them then drove to the Post Office and got in line to get them mailed and stamped with proper time stamp.
Another year I managed to submit my taxes the day before the deadline. Smug in my efforts I thought I had defeated Murphy (as in Murphy’s law.) Alas, I was wrong. Turns out there was a small problem with the name and social security number so it was rejected but I was notified the day after the filing deadline. So I had a late penalty fee assessed.
Technology fails, networks fail and they especially will fail when there is a choke point for a lot of people trying to access the same servers at the same time. In the case of choke points you have to give yourself 3 days leeway to make sure the submission, check, and response back happens within the deadline.
Update: Just found this neat post on Gizmodo on 1991 filing taxes online