In 2015 TAXVINE No 11 (2 April 2015) Member 58 wrote:
“With the 31 March deadline approaching, it is interesting to see that the ATO has decided to choose this weekend to update functionality on the Tax Agent Portal, effectively taking it offline for the weekend.
For some practitioners following up lagging clients to attempt to lodge their returns on time, the weekend is usually where some progress can be made (without the usual interruptions that occur during a normal day). Why does the ATO decide to take services down at critical lodgment times?”
THE ATO NOW RESPONDS:
“We apologise to the member for any inconvenience caused and naturally if a system issue causes delays with meeting deadlines we will always take these circumstances into account when considering extensions of time for lodgment and payment.
The ATO chose the weekend of the 28th-29th of March because it was the last available weekend before Tax Time open to us to undertake a substantial upgrade of our systems. While this was near a lodgment date, and access to assisting functions such as pre-fill were not available, the due date was Income Tax related, an action not performed through the portal.
As to the substance of the upgrade, this was substantial and has seen the transition of the portals to a modern server environment that will improve stability and capability in the lead into TaxTime and beyond, as well as providing the capacity to deliver increased availability of the portals going forward.
Finally, may we draw members’ attention to the System Maintenance and Issues page. The ATO provided, as it normally does, details in relation to this outage on 11th of March. We would encourage all users and in particular practice managers to periodically check these pages for information about upcoming maintenance.”