SMEs ask ATO to pay their bills after third day of business portal outage: “You have destroyed Christmas”

SmartCompany, December 14 2016

Tax professionals and business owners have been left stranded by an outage of the Australian Taxation Office’s systems that began on Sunday afternoon and has continued into Wednesday morning.

One Queensland small business, Tax Invest Accounting in Helensville, told SmartCompany the outage has even pushed back the business’s planned Christmas closure by a week.

“We had planned to close on Friday and all that has just gone out the window,” accountant Belinda Raso says.

The outage has forced the firm to reschedule five clients today alone, and Raso has had to tell last-minute referrals who have approached the firm before Christmas that they will have to wait for any work to be completed.

“We’re probably looking at a [cost to us of a] couple of thousand [dollars] at this stage,” she says.

While the main ATO website came back online at 6:40pm on Tuesday evening, more than 52 hours after the initial site failure, the ATO Business Portal and Tax Agent portal services remain unavailable on Wednesday morning.

This has made filing Business Activity Statements and using lodgment services for tax practitioners impossible as accountants and businesses rush to fill in paperwork before the end of the year.

Tax practitioners have taken to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to express their frustration, says that phone calls to the general ATO line have not resulted in any updates on when the services will be back up and running.