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ATO outages leave lasting impact on profession


Over 80 per cent of accountants felt that their productivity was significantly affected by the ATO portal outages, according to a recent Accountants Daily poll, with the extensions offered considered an “insult to intelligence”.

By Lara Bullock 10 minute read

Accountants Daily recently ran a poll asking readers whether the ATO outages that began on 11 December 2016 significantly affected their productivity.

Of the 266 respondents, 81.6 per cent said yes and only 18.4 per cent said no.

NSW sole practitioner George Lawrence told Accountants Daily that the outages significantly affected his productivity.


“The constant frustration of not being able to use [the portals], especially when they've kind of pushed us into it, it was like a catch-22,” Mr Lawrence said.

“It’s been a lottery forever, the outage probably was the culmination of all the previous breakdowns.”

The ATO extended lodgement deadlines in both December and January by one week in a bid to remedy the issues, however Mr Lawrence felt that wasn’t enough.

“Don’t get me started. They gave us five working days. I’ve got to tell you, it was an insult to intelligence,” Mr Lawrence said.

“To give us one week, one whole week when the whole thing has been a total mess and a complete shambles, it was an insult to my intelligence.”

While Mr Lawrence said compensation isn’t the answer, he wishes the ATO had been more honest and up-front about what was happening.

“They tried to bullshit their way through it. They kept telling people 'We're nearly finished, we're nearly there' and three days later they were telling us exactly the same thing,” he said.

“I would respect them for telling the truth and saying 'We’ve got a major problem, we're trying to fix it'.”

Lara Bullock


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