Interview: Reader Describes Last Night's Turbo Tax Slowdown

We followed up with Derek about his experience with last night’s Turbo Tax system slowdown.

derek: After about 90 minutes I finally got it pushed over but it was listed as “Pending” in the TT software. That is usual – you reload the program after 24-48 hours and it gives you a confirmation code. This is the same behavior of the product from past years (when I’ve filed on time) ;) Anyhow I was already looking up my zip to find a post office open here in Astoria. Funny that Blackberry is out today too. When it rains, it pours.
benpopken: good times
benpopken: did you get the pending message before midnight?
derek: Yes. It finally sent at about 10:30p (Eastern) I’m in Astoria, Queens. The error said something funny like
derek: “We are experiencing high call volume… why don’t you try again at 4:00am Pacific”
derek: hahaha
derek: between 4a-4p is when they said to try again. At first the message said retry in 10 minutes.
derek: Then after about 20 minutes of clicking to resubmit it said “try back in two hours…. TWO HOURS!!” Panic! at the keyboard.

(Photo: Tatiana Sapateiro)

derek: Not disappointed with TurboTax. I’ve always used it and with sites like FW I was able to purchase it and a bunch of other programs like My Attorney and Anti Virus and end up getting $15 positive. It’s sort of great that this happened… maybe the IRS will lighten up on Free File and let everyone file for free direct with them.
derek: Between fefderal and state I owed about $2k which wasn’t very nice. I had done my taxes the first week of Feb and when I saw that I would owe I put it off till the last minute to pay the buggers. Sure, I could have finished them them and scheduled the payment for the 15th, but I wanted to go back and check for any other deductions I may have missed or find receipts etc. In the end I suppose I’m glad I waited since I had a couple of 1099s show up late I had forgotten about.
derek: I manage the network of an internet company here in midtown so it is nice when TurboTax has server issues and BlackBerry service goes down. It gives me some ammo to throw back at the boss when he whines that our miniscule operation has trouble due to insufficient budgets and I can fire back with examples of how even big companies can’t protect themselves from getting slammed.


Overwhelmed Turbo Tax Servers Slow To Crawl For E-Filers
Turbo Tax’s Servers Down?


Edit Your Comment

  1. orlong says:

    The reason these problems existed is because of people like Ben. There is no reason to procrastinate until the last 2 hours before taxes are due.

  2. B says:

    I think you mean people like Derek.

  3. Another Smurf says:

    Whether there’s a “reason” to procrastinate or not, that’s what a large number of taxpayers do. (And indeed, there is a very good reason to wait until the last minute to file if you owe money.)

    Because we’re talking about tax software, and it’s known that volumes will be very high at the “last minute”, it’s a failure on Turbo Tax’s part if their servers can’t deal with what by any reasonable account would be a “high but entirely expected number of users”.

  4. mrmysterious says:

    It’s like a /. effect with legal consequences.

  5. homerjay says:

    If you desire the benefit of waiting until the last minute to pay, you assume the stress and risks that come along with relying on other people (TT) in that hour of need.

  6. B says:

    If TT needs to increase their server capacity in order to handle the last minute filers, they should charge extra for last minute filing. I don’t want to have to pay for other people’s procrastination when I file ahead of time.

  7. klondikedog says:

    This happened to me last year – I filed at the last minute and everything was okay… until nothing happened. Even though I e-filed it stalled and said I never did.

    I called TurboTax and they refunded my complete fee which gave me the idea I wasn’t the only one. I ended up submitting a day late, I didn’t owe any money, though. This year I submitted my taxes through TurboTax 2 weeks early and no problems.


  8. oudemia says:

    Have a heart, folks. I filed in February, so I have no personal interest here, but these people were trying to do the right thing (i.e. pay their taxes on time) and were making a good faith effort. It is no skin off my nose, or yours, if the gummint gives them a twelve-hour extension. Be nice!

  9. tvh2k says:


    I disagree. TT is commercial software. They advertise that you can save time on line at the post office Apr 15th (or 17th, this year) by using their software. They should provide the infrastructure to support the number of e-file products that they sold.

  10. tvh2k says:


    If you didn’t owe money you could have filed as late as you wanted. The late fee is 5% of your amount due — which was nothing!

  11. magellan says:

    You can do your taxes at any time and then file them when you want, if waiting to pay is the issue. But if tax day snuck up on you, or you procrastinated, then how should anyone have a heart?

  12. klondikedog says:


    Oh yeah I know that. I should have added the same thing happened with my state taxes where I owed money ($64). Paid those a day late without any penalties. I don’t recommend it, but I don’t think getting them in a day late is necessarily the end of the world…

  13. indianaguy says:


    i disagree, if you read the TT TOS you see that they state


    This is of course for thier website, i don’t use TT so I don’t know of thier desktop software TOS but I assume that it has something in it.

    When you sign up for this service you are agreeing to it. read before you sign

    knowing is half the battle

  14. JimZ says:

    Hi. I am a reporter at NPR and would like to talk to Derek, or anyone else who had trouble with Turbo Tax yesterday. I can be reached at 1-800-235-1212, ext 3434. Thanks a lot.