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ATO apologises for Online services downtime


The ATO is currently investigating ongoing issues with Online services for agents after some practitioners were locked out following a scheduled quarterly update over the weekend.

By Jotham Lian 12 minute read

Practitioners have continued to face access issues with the ATO’s Online services since Monday, with some being placed in a virtual queue as the Tax Office sought to limit the number of users on its system.

An ATO spokesperson told Accountants Daily that the issue was not related to the transition of the Business Portal to the new Online services for business, and that the issue was being investigated as a matter of priority.

“We’re aware that some users including tax and BAS agents have been experiencing intermittent issues with our Online services,” the ATO spokesperson said.


“We apologise for the inconvenience. The practitioner lodgement service was not impacted.”

According to the ATO, the virtual queue — or visitor prioritisation system — was first introduced in April last year to help the Tax Office cope with a surge in users accessing its system following the announcement of COVID-19 stimulus measures, including JobKeeper and the early release of superannuation.

It reactivated the queue system this week after its online systems ran into difficulties.

“In order to manage an increase in the volume of user traffic using ATO Online services, we have activated our visitor prioritisation system which provides a user-friendly waiting room experience to help manage user traffic and ensure system performance for ATO Online users,” said the spokesperson.

“The visitor prioritisation system is a tool for ensuring continuity of service under conditions of excessive demand or unforeseen events affecting system performance.

“It is a standard method used by many organisations to manage online user experience. This means while some users are still able to access our Online services without issue, others are placed in a queue to await access to services.

“We apologise for this inconvenience and will update the public as soon as the matter has been fully resolved.”

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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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