BATON ROUGE, La. — Computer problems that prevented Louisiana taxpayers from filing their state tax returns and employees from applying for the state’s front-line worker rebate have now been fixed.
The Department of Revenue (LDR) started taking applications for the $250 hazard paychecks just after midnight, Wednesday.
By 7 a.m., more than 14,000 applications had been submitted.
Then LDR’s online portal crashed.
LDR Secretary Kimberly Robinson said bandwidth and servers were configured to handle the high volume of applications anticipated.
She added a network connectivity issue affected all applications on the Louisiana Taxpayer Access Point website.
“This impacted Frontline Worker applications, as well as all of our tax filing applications and today, is Tax Day,” Robinson said. “It’s the extended due date for taxes that were extended from May 15 and April 15 of earlier this year.”
LDR extended the state tax deadline until Friday, July 17. This does not change the federal tax deadline.
New Orleans State Representative Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans said it probably wasn’t a good idea to start the front-line worker rebate program on the same day state taxes were due.
The $50 million program gives grocery store employees, nurses, bus drivers and other workers who stayed on their jobs in the early days of the state’s Coronavirus outbreak a one-time payment
“Unfortunately, this may be the tenth time I’ve seen this happen during COVID,” Landry said. “It happened when unemployment benefits were extended and then there was art grants and grants for service industry people and the day it would open, the system would crash.”
Landry added, the fact thousands of workers applied for the $250 payment before the system crashed says a lot about people’s financial stress four months into the COVID crisis.
“This money will probably be gone pretty fast because people need every penny that they can get right now and federal funds are about to run out,” Landry said.
The online application portal for the front-line worker rebates and state tax filings was back up and running as of late Wednesday.