ATO hits back over claim tax time under threat from IT failures

Commissioner of Taxation has stern words for HPE

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan has condemned as “without foundation” a report that tax return lodgement and processing for FY17 could be delayed due to the Australian Taxation Office’s recent IT outages.

Fairfax Media this morning reported that the ATO “cannot guarantee it will begin tax time 2017 on July 1”.

“We are absolutely confident that taxpayers will be able to lodge their returns and receive refunds on time from 1 July,” Jordan said in a statement.

“It is disappointing that some people are trying to create unnecessary mischief during what has already been a challenging and testing time for the community and the ATO. This is very unfortunate as it undermines the commitment and good work that our people have undertaken to return ATO services to normal operation and bring them back online as quickly and reliably as possible.”

The ATO late last week suffered an unplanned outage of its core online services. It wasn’t until Monday that the agency could confirm that most services had been restored.

That outage followed the dramatic 12 December collapse of ATO systems, which has been linked to an HP Enterprise (HPE) storage system.

The ATO has retained PwC to conduct a review of the outages.

“Initial indications are there has been a failure by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide contracted services in a reliable way and ensure stability of our systems,” Jordan said in his statement today.

“I can assure the community that we are taking this seriously and it has the highest priority,” the commissioner wrote.

“I have already met a number of times with the most senior HPE representatives in the region and corresponded with their CEO to ensure they are aware of the disruption and damage this kind of event causes and remind them of their contractual arrangements.”

Fairfax Media also reported that the ATO had abandoned much of its technology program for the year.

The ATO’s chief information officer, Ramez Katf, said late last month that the agency was reviewing its forward work program to assess the impact of the outage on the rollout of new electronic services.

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