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26 Oct 12 Three views of the Portal

MEMBER 210 writes:

"How many times do you or your staff waste time entering/updating information in the Portal & get to the end only to get the dreaded grey message that the Portal service is down?

If it is down, this message should come up prior to us wasting our very valuable time entering data that was never going to be transmitted.

Surely the IT people programming the ATO system are capable of doing that...

Please bring this matter up with the ATO on behalf of all members as a matter of priority."

MEMBER 211 writes in the same vein:

"What a joke the Tax Agent Portal is at the moment. I complained around 2 weeks ago about the Portal being slow since its last upgrade some months ago. It is still a nightmare to use. At around 9-10am most mornings Perth time it is almost a waste of time trying to call up reports. I have found it best to use from around 11am to about 2pm. Then again after 4pm. I have said it before, I am saying it again. Shame on you ATO for spending hundreds of millions of $ upgrading a system that is now running slower than what it was before your upgrade. Is the ATO working on the premise that us agents do not deserve good service from them? All we ever read about is the Commissioner praising us agents for our patience & that everything is working, but in reality I can only assume that he is unaware of the problems the Portal is facing."

TAXVINE COMMENT: The ATO has advised The Tax Institute that it puts information about Portal issues and upgrades under the "System Maintenance and Issues" link located at the bottom of the first box on the right hand side on the home page of the ATO website. It is suggested that agents refer to this link before going on to the Portal to see if there are likely to be interruptions to the Portal when they wish to access it.

MEMBER 212 writes, in defence of the Portal:

"I refer to the comments of Member 209 in last week's TAXVINE - see 2012 TAXVINE No 40 (19 October 2012).

Do not knock the PORTAL. Computers are not perfect. Humans program and feed them.

For any agent having dealt with ATO in the eighties and earlier, the Portal is the second best thing since sliced bread (ELS was the first).

The information available now at a click of a mouse continually amazes me. Prefill info was not available, nor was a client running balance. Sometimes an ATO officer may have helped sort an administrative problem over the phone but mostly, problems had to be sorted or info begged for in writing.

The speed up in doing business with the ATO is akin to comparing a Model T Ford and a Ford XR6.

If the Portal hiccups seriously enough, bring it to the attention of The Tax Institute and/or your ATO client manager without knocking the system."

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