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Commissioner apologises to tax profession for recent system outages

Publication date: 16 Mar 17 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Thursday, 16 March 2017: Speaking today at The Tax Institute’s 32nd National Convention, the Commissioner of Taxation focused on the remediation of the ATO’s IT systems to ensure they are ready for TaxTime 2017 and that the ATO can implement all mandatory policy and legislative changes. 

In an address streamed live, online, to members of The Tax Institute and ATO staff, the Commissioner openly discussed the systems outages experienced in December 2016 and February this year, noting that an end-to-end review into the outages is underway. He said the outcome of this review is due at the end of March. 

He also said a number of planned systems outages will take place over a couple of weekends in April and May, in particular the Easter weekend, to replace the faulty SAN equipment and migrate to the new one. 

The Commissioner told tax professionals at the Convention: “We will work with you to ensure that you and your clients are not disadvantaged and we will provide support for ‘catch up’ on any work delayed through the outages.” 

In response, The Tax Institute’s President, Matthew Pawson said “The Tax Institute welcomes the Commissioner’s candid approach to the issue and looks forward to working closely with the ATO to achieve the best outcome for members stemming from this difficult situation.” 

The Commissioner also referred to the recently developed Statement of Intent entitled Working with the Tax Profession. The Commissioner quoted The Tax Institute’s President Matthew Pawson’s February 2017 Taxation In Australia article entitled ‘Investment in the Future’ and noted that Mr Pawson “very aptly encouraged Institute members to implement strategic plans around digital engagement. [Mr Pawson] also captured it well when he said we are ‘on an irreversible path to a future profession that will likely look very different’.” 

The Commissioner also announced that, from today, the ATO is implementing ‘Fast Intensive Triage’ in the Review and Dispute Resolution area. 

Tax Institute Senior Tax Counsel, Professor Bob Deutsch praised this initiative, saying that “Steps to resolve tax disputes quickly should ensure costs are reduced for taxpayers who find themselves under review or in a dispute with the ATO. This is a positive initiative in the area of dispute resolution.” 


For more information, please contact:

Noel Rowland, CEO, The Tax Institute: 02 8223 0011

Stephanie Conway, The Tax Institute: 02 8223 0011 

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association and educator in tax. Its 12,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia. The Tax Institute supports the tax profession through education and professional development and works to continually improve tax law and its administration.