The ATO’s recently implemented fix to its embattled legal database has now been bedded down and is claimed to be running smoothly, with practitioners still affected to be offered further support.
ATO legal database changes ‘holding very well’
The Tax Office had earlier apologised for the technical difficulties that had been affecting the availability of its legal database for several months, noting that changes had since been implemented to resolve the issues.
In an update to the National Tax Liaison Group today, ATO second commissioner Deborah Jenkins confirmed that the fix had resolved issues that practitioners faced.
“Over the weekend of 22–23 August, we implemented multiple changes that mean that the problems users have experienced with the Legal database over recent weeks have largely been resolved,” Ms Jenkins said.
“We are continuing to test the performance of the legal database, and from our testing over the last week, the fixes appear to be holding very well, with the database working much more smoothly.”
Ms Jenkins also noted that practitioners who had difficulty accessing relevant guidance or rulings during the period of instability would be offered tailored support through the tax agent hotline.
The Institute of Public Accountants general manager of technical policy, Tony Greco, said member feedback in the past week had been positive, and he thanked the ATO for addressing the unreliability issues.
Mr Greco said that while reliable access to the database was crucial for practitioners, it was worth acknowledging that the ATO has had its hands full with implementing system changes to deal with a number of stimulus measures it was tasked to administer, including JobKeeper, the cash-flow boost and the early release of superannuation.
“While the ATO has been playing centre stage for stimulus rollout, it is understandable that it has been a challenging time in its history to implement both cash-flow boost and JobKeeper,” Mr Greco said.
“No other government agency could have pulled this off within the time frames demanded, so we have to acknowledge this feat.”
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