Fast Lane: Groundhog Day at the ATO

Fast Lane: Groundhog Day at the ATO

It’s Groundhog Day at the tax office except it happens every year.

Once again the ATO’s online systems have buckled under the weight of taxpayers trying to file their online returns.

As soon as the clock ticked over to the new financial year the systems started to creak and groan.

By July 2 the ATO had already admitted on social media that “our systems are running a little slow”.

As complaints flooded in the ATO was forced to apologise for the delays and faults in the system.

It blamed the problems with the changeover to the myTax System from the tried and tested eTax system.

ATO Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper issued a statement saying the tax office is “sorry for any inconvenience that issues with our online systems have caused”. 

Late last week the update from the ATO was 90% of those trying to lodge were “successfully accessing online services and lodging their returns”.

What about the poor other 10% growing increasingly frustrated as the system crashes repeatedly?

Even after this, the system continued to struggle and the glitches continued with some users being sent off to a Turkish language page from the ATO site.

It’s ironic when prior to the new financial year, the ATO had been spruiking its expanded range of online services as a faster and more efficient way of lodging tax returns.

It’s not really good enough when the ATO could have easily anticipated this would happen.  

As more and more businesses move their accounting systems online and into the cloud, increasing numbers are going to be looking to file their tax returns online.

They’re also going to be looking to file these returns speedily.

It’s not unreasonable for businesses to want to get their own money back as soon as possible.

But the ATO is now asking everyone to wait until August. 

It seems there is little incentive for the ATO to fix the problem when it means the taxman just gets to hold onto businesses’ money for even longer.

Here’s a tip for the ATO: the same thing is going to happen next year as well unless serious changes are made.

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