Government blamed for ATO delays

Aussie taxpayers are having difficulties with the ATO’s new online tax system.

Government blamed for ATO delays

Cuts to public service sector jobs have been blamed for the difficulties experienced by taxpayers trying to lodge tax returns with the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) new online tax lodgement system.

Customers accessing the new myTax system in order to lodge their tax returns online have faced inordinate delays and technical issues, which Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh believes can be attributed to the Government’s continued slashing of public service jobs.

According to the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), over 17,000 public sector jobs have been slashed during the current government’s time in office. Mr Leigh believes it is unfair for the government to expect ATO staff to roll out new systems with fewer bodies available to help manage the process.

“It’s just another example of how short-sighted public service cuts end up affecting people,” said Mr Leigh. “They don’t just affect public servants, the 4,700 people who’ve lost their jobs, but they end up affecting the millions of Australians that will be looking to file their tax returns over the course of the coming months.”

The ATO’s Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper apologised for the technical issues, and expressed disappointment that people were experiencing issues with the new tax lodgement system.

In order to bypass these difficulties, Mr Leeper suggests that customers put off lodging their returns until August.

“If it’s not urgent for you to lodge now, we suggest that you wait until August when there will be more pre-fill data available,” said Mr Leeper.

The ATO has asked its customers to exercise patience whilst it rectifies its new online lodgement system.

Have you been inconvenienced by this new online lodgement system? Do you feel that the new system should have been put through its paces prior to tax time? Do you believe the government cuts to ATO staff are responsible for this issue, or should the ATO have done its homework before implementing an untested system?


Learn more about the myTax system


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    9th Jul 2015
    Yes - but the problems go deeper than that.

    Have you tried to call the ATO? The standard recorded message says "The system is too busy - we cannot take your call. Please call back later".

    So not only is the online returns system faulty, but you can't get help on the phone either.

    The Government have clearly taken the attitude that ATO costs are to be cut and people will either have more tax return problems or more will have to go to tax accountants. Accountants are in turn cashing in on this and increasing their charges.

    As Government has cut ATO services, it must authorise the ATO to be more lenient with our tax returns.
    9th Jul 2015
    Another CAN DO at work

    9th Jul 2015
    Seems to me that the more educated the populace gets, and the higher we raise salaries for ''skilled'' workers, the more problems we have and the more they blame inadequate funding for their inability to deliver. Am I missing something here? Is it just possible that we should be focusing on accountability and demanding evidence of capability to perform rather than blaming the government for not providing enough funding? I worked with computer programmers and was shocked at the salaries expected by people with minimal real skill and no work ethic (I'm sure they have counterparts in most professions. This lack of ability and work ethic can't possibly be restricted to just one occupation!). We saw the debacle in Queensland when programmers couldn't get the health system right. It wasn't lack of funding that caused that problem! I've personally witnessed total incompetence in Centrelink and on the local council, but the people who stuffed up badly kept their high-paid jobs and fat retirement benefits and are not held to account at all for their errors. Meanwhile we have people unemployed who might well do a far better job, but who sadly lack those vital pieces of paper that ''prove'' their competence.

    Maybe we've got our priorities all wrong? Maybe it's time to back off from spending more and more money, assuming education and 'qualifications' are the be-all and end-all, and blaming ''resources problems'' for failure. Maybe, instead, we should start focusing on ensuring that the people who are lucky enough to have jobs actually DO THEIR JOB efficiently and competently OR FACE DISMISSAL.

    No offence intended to those in the ATO who are diligent and competent. I'm sure there are many. But there are also many who just can't deliver what they are paid for, and there are far too many protections in the system that guarantee them continued employment despite their poor performance.

    9th Jul 2015
    Government websites are notorious for being user unfriendly and must be deliberately designed that way. A cretin could do a better job. I have tried set up my own account with the ATO's old site and ended up with less direction than Blind Freddie without his dog or stick. Centrelink sites are much the same, leading you around in hopeless circles with few or no answers to your questions. I have used Centrelink's Seniors' Line lately (13-2300) and, surprisingly, found it very helpful after my call was finally answered. The phone book is another "lucky dip" when trying to find the government number you want - being a cryptographer would help.
    9th Jul 2015
    I must of been lucky lodged my return 5.30 am on 1 July. Got straight on.
    9th Jul 2015
    Thats the shot get up early or go to bed late it nearly always works
    9th Jul 2015
    The project analysts employed by (or contracted to) the ATO are accountable for equipment and systems testing prior to "going live". If exhaustive testing found a fault they are required to upward notify those technically responsible for implementation. Decisions are made within the ATO so in all honesty I fail to see how the government of the day is responsible unless there was clear direction to implement with the faults known. The faults are technical and no amount of abrogation of responsibility will change that. Technical failure.
    9th Jul 2015
    Over last few years I've done our dividend credit refund returns to ATO
    over the telephone.....this year the system would not accept me saying our postcode was different ( not true). So over 3 or 4 days I attempted to enter details via internet,this option introduced for the first time this about making an easy job difficult !!!After endless problems have given up & posted the returns today by snail mail.So much for progressp
    Polly Esther
    10th Jul 2015
    Must be the love child of the inventor of 'Myki'
    Ooh it sounds like it.
    Where are the Robots? Have the metal workers union got them on strike?
    10th Jul 2015
    After twice receiving apologies from staff that the ATO is suffering computer glitches......when I eventually got through on the good old telephone service, I gave up!
    And with no stress whatsoever on my behalf my Accountant welcomed me back.
    Will be back this year too, to see exactly where I stand....having a casual job once per fortnight and now a weekly 2 1/2 day part time 70 years old. Is it worth it, it does help to save the marriage? lol
    10th Jul 2015
    Tried a number of times in the last week betweem 9am and 11pm. Same error message each time. Contacted ATO 4 times. First 3 said having problems should be right shortly, wait a while znd try again. Last t8me contacted and after explaining what had happened it was suggested to download etax, ie don't use mytax. Etax downloaded and worked. Anyone else had problems with pre-filling? None ofmine been pre-filled.
    11th Jul 2015
    20th Jul 2016
    I used the ato e tax for a number of years I did not find it easy but learned to master it now they call it my tax which has been more confusing perhaps I started to early and I should wait till middle august as it will not download my history keeps saying error

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