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Intuit is to refund TurboTax customers who tried to file their tax returns with the IRS on Tax Day using the company's e-filing system - and who got heart attacks instead. As world+dog knows by now, Intuit's servers buckled under the strain of customers trying to fulfil their American taxpayers' duty on April 17.

Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service, which is not famous for flexibility when it comes to late filers, extended the deadline for TurboTaxniks by two days. Intuit will pay any penalties that customers incurred as a result of the delay, but it doesn't anticipate having to open its wallet on this score. Intuit will automatically refund credit card charges made between 3pm PDT on Tuesday, April 17 and 4am PDT on Wednesday April 18 - and that will cost it $15m, according to reporters.

Intuit today issued a ritual apology - but no executive disembowelling - and a broadbrush explanation of what went wrong. Not the bandwidth, not the hardware, but an intermittent database issue, was to blame for Tuesday's "serious and painful" delay for customers.

Now for some light entertainment from Steve Bennett, president and chief executive officer of Intuit, who today is mostly eating crow. "We deeply regret the frustration and anxiety this caused our customers. This is not the experience customers have come to expect from Intuit. It’s not acceptable to us, and we will do right by our customers who were impacted by this delay.”

Customers of Intuit's Lacerte and ProSeries products were also affected by this week's server go-slow. Intuit is to work with victims to "take the appropriate action based on their situation". ®

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