Is there a "blackout" period when MeF returns cannot be e-filed due to IRS server maintenance procedures?
The IRS accepts e-file of individual and business returns for the current and two prior years - for example, during the 2019 filing season (tax year 2018), 2016, 2017, and 2018 returns will be eligible for e-file. All other prior returns must be paper-filed. The IRS has an annual maintenance period during which certain types of returns are not accepted electronically. This is also referred to as the e-filing shutdown or cutover schedule.
See Related Links for scheduled outages in addition to the annual maintenance period.
The individual shutdown for tax year 2018 begins on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Submission transmissions ends at 10:00 pm EST; acknowledgment retrieval from IRS ends at 11:59 pm EST. This shutdown will prevent e-filing of individual returns. The IRS will begin accepting and processing individual returns again in January. At that time the current and two prior years can be e-filed.
The business shutdown for tax year 2018 has not yet been announced.
States can continue to use all the service requests necessary to retrieve and process state submissions until shutdown activities shown above. MeF recommends that states adjust their processing schedule in order to retrieve submissions in time to validate returns and submit acknowledgements.
Some states, such as California, still allow for e-filing of state-only (a.k.a direct) individual returns even when the IRS is shutdown.