The tax office’s website crashed on Wednesday morning due to high demand as Aussies began lodging their tax returns.
Business owners and individuals began posting error messages to social media less than half a day into the 2020-21 financial year.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) later confirmed the outage, saying it was experiencing a high volume of traffic.
“We are aware that people trying to lodge their tax return or an application for early release of super are currently experiencing issues with our systems,” an ATO spokesperson said.
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“We are investigating this as a priority, and our technicians are working to resolve the issue.”
As of Wednesday evening the ATO said it was still working to restore full functionality, but that services for businesses and agents should be online and operational.
“This disruption was the result of a small component failure, which has reduced the capacity for processing these matters,” the ATO said in a statement posted to its website on Wednesday evening.
“We have identified the area of the system that has failed and are in the process of replacing this component as quickly as possible.
“As our technicians work to fix the issue, we have temporarily reduced the number of people who can access our online services for individuals.”
The tax office was preparing for demand above and beyond the usual tax time strain today as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic puts pressures on household budgets and business finances.
The second batch of early access superannuation payments also became available Wednesday, driving even more traffic through ATO systems throughout the morning.
The superannuation program was announced by the federal government as a coronavirus stimulus measure, but has been mired in controversy amid revelations fraudsters made off with other people’s retirement savings.