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TurboTax Web Site Goes Dark on Tax-Deadline Day

Some TurboTax users encountered a brief filing delay Monday afternoon when the software maker Intuit Inc. (INTU) shut down its computer system to prepare for the heavier volume of electronic tax filing expected later in the evening.

Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller equated the move to the rebooting of a PC and said the company decided to do the "preventative maintenance" before the system could potentially slow to a crawl for the inevitable thousands of last-minute tax filers.

"If we see the system slowing down, we take proactive steps to get ahead of it," Miller said.

The shutdown occurred at 5:25 p.m. EDT, and it took the system 20 minutes to refresh itself, she said. An unknown number of users were affected, but it would have been at most "in the hundreds," Miller said.

Intuit, which sold 12.6 million copies of TurboTax programs in its fiscal 2005, did the same thing on the eve of last year's tax filing day to deal with heavy online traffic, she said.