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Tax Agent Portal outage wreaks havoc for accountants

Widespread digital outages at the ATO have left accountants in the lurch, with extensive downtime for the Tax Agent Portal prompting one accounting body to call for compensation for lost time and productivity.

Technology Katarina Taurian 15 December 2016
— 1 minute read

Since Sunday, the ATO’s website, online services and portals have experienced extensive outages, which the ATO put down to a hardware issue.

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Vital services for accountants, including the Tax Agent Portal, have remained offline during this period.

Online services are gradually being restored, with general tax and superannuation information made live on Tuesday via the official website.

The ATO assured tax agents that no data has been lost in this process.

“While we experienced some data corruption, we are in the process of fully restoring this data from backup. No data has been lost,” the ATO told Accountants Daily.

It also assured Accountants Daily that the restoration of the Tax Agent Portal is a priority. 

The ATO recently told the accounting community that new and improved systems are in the pipeline to replace the Tax Agent Portal, which is prone to outages.

“We are constantly being reassured by the ATO that it will fix its system going forward and practitioners can expect more robust ATO interactions from the deployment of better technology in 2017. These reassurances are now falling on deaf ears [with] our members, when the portal [went] down for two days this week,” said the Institute of Public Accountants’ chief executive officer Andrew Conway.

“In 2015 the ATO acknowledged that its use of technology and administrative changes, combined with the existing ATO portal issues, have added to the frustrations and lost productivity for many small tax practitioners.”

Mr Conway pointed to the significant productivity loss, particularly for small businesses, which are often unable to meet deadlines and complete client projects due to the outages, and reiterated calls for compensation.

“Our members have highlighted to us on many occasions that they have suffered productivity loss, missed deadlines and incurred irrecoverable costs, as well as damage to their reputations and relationships with their clients,” Mr Conway said.

***Update*** As of 10am 15/12/16, the Tax Agent Portal, BAS Portal and Business Portal are back online. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are still experiencing issues. 

Tax Agent Portal outage wreaks havoc for accountants
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