Commissioner comes out swinging about 2017 tax time
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Commissioner comes out swinging about 2017 tax time

ATO commissioner Chris Jordan AO has said he is “absolutely confident” that the recent system outages will not plague tax time 2017, while a spate of complaints about vital portal outages continue to surface.

System outages have plagued the ATO’s online services since December, resulting in the shut down or reduced efficiency of vital portals – such as the Tax Agent Portal.

Mr Jordan issued a statement yesterday, promising that he foresees no issues with taxpayers lodging and receiving their refunds on time this July.

He also took a swipe at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, saying initial indications are that there was a failure on their part to provide contracted services in a reliable way.

“I can assure the community that we are taking this seriously and it has the highest priority. I have already met a number of times with the most senior HPE representatives in the region and corresponded with their CEO to ensure they are aware of the disruption and damage this kind of event causes and remind them of their contractual arrangements,” Mr Jordan said.

The commissioner’s comments come as accounting professionals continue to contact Accountants Daily, saying that despite the ATO telling them that services such as the Tax Agent Portal are working, the services are either inaccessible or running inefficiently.

The ATO did not respond to Accountants Daily's requests for comment on the matter. 

Gail Freeman, director at Gail Freeman & Co, told Accountants Daily that despite texts and emails from the ATO saying the portal is up and running, access this week has been limited.

Ms Freeman, who has spoken to Accountants Daily in the past about similar issues, said her biggest frustration is not getting accurate updates from the Tax Office on the functionality of its systems.

“All I want to know is when it is going to be down. If that’s going to be two weeks, fine. We can adjust accordingly. But I need to know what that downtime is going to be,” she said.

“The impact [of the outages] on our productivity and cash flow is quite enormous,” she said.

Several readers have also aired their grievances in response to an Accountants Daily poll, which indicated that an overwhelming majority of accountants feel their productivity has been significantly affected by portal outages.

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Commissioner comes out swinging about 2017 tax time
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