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.
See Related Links for scheduled outages in addition to the annual maintenance period.
Individual e-filing shutdown / cut-over schedule. The individual shutdown for tax year 2017 began on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Submission transmissions ended at 10:00pm EST; acknowledgment retrieval from IRS ended at 11:59pm EST. This shutdown prevents e-filing of individual returns. The IRS will begin accepting and processing individual returns on Monday, January 28, 2019. At that time the current and two prior years can be e-filed. Returns transmitted to Drake before January 28th will be held in queue and forwarded to the IRS in the order they were received.
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.
Business e-filing shutdown / cutover schedule. The business shutdown for "Send Submissions" is scheduled to begin at 11:59 a.m., Wednesday, December 26, 2018, to prepare the system for the upcoming 2019 Filing Season.
Transmitters can continue to use the other service requests except "Send Submissions" until 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, December 26, 2018.
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.
Any acknowledgements not retrieved by 11:59 p.m. on December 26th cannot be accessed again until MeF opens for production in January 2019. On January, 4, 2019, the IRS announced that they will begin accepting all business tax returns at 9 a.m. Eastern on January 8, 2019.