Northern Beaches businesses suffer because of ATO website shutdown

Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, has criticised the ATO for bringing Northern Beaches small business to a standstill, costing each local small business thousands of dollars a day.

“At the weekend, the ATO website was taken offline for “maintenance” over the weekend. Nearly three business days’ later and the ATO Business Portal, Tax Agent Portal and BAS Agent Portal are all still offline.” Falinski said.

“The outage of the ATO online systems is costing each local small business thousands of dollars a day.  This outage is an embarrassment to the ATO and it needs to be called to account.  As a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, I will be asking the Chair, Kevin Hogan MP, to call the Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan AO, to appear before it and answer questions about this outage.” Falinski said.

“The ATO has spent $800 million on its Change Program to update its online systems several years ago … and this is the result – a near three day outage.  Just where are they leading us? These outages are too frequent and are undermining my business.” Said a local tax agent who did not wish to be named for fear of being persecuted by ATO officers.

“The ATO expects tax agents to lodge 85% of their client’s returns on time each year.  Yet if we can’t get the critical information out of their broken system, we can’t prepare the tax returns.  They are tying our hands behind our back, and saying it’s our fault” said the local tax agent.

Falinski said he will be calling on the ATO to extend its 85% on time lodgement requirement for every minute there is an outage. 

“There are 4,000 people employed in financial services in my electorate and the ATO’s continued incompetence is a drain on their livelihoods.  The ATO need to fix this mess and fix it now,” Falinski said.