ATO expects more disruptions to come

Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer
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No client data lost in IT glitch: ATO

Client data has been protected as the ATO seeks to put its services back online.

The Australian Taxation Office has had another set back as it tries to restore its online services, warning of further disruptions over coming days.

The ATO insists no data has been lost and its systems have not been compromised after a hardware failure brought down its website and online services on Monday.

ATO acting chief information officer Steve Hamilton says it's experienced further performance issues on Wednesday afternoon, impacting the availability of its website and portals.

Specialist technicians are working "around the clock" to restore the website and portals and once they're back up and running, efforts will be focused on other core services as well as processing payments and refunds, he said.

"We anticipate that there may continue to be intermittent disruptions over the coming days as we continue the process to restore full services," he said.

"The performance of different systems will vary as this restoration process is undertaken.

"This is a complex restoration process requiring significant manual processing which unfortunately is taking longer than we expected to complete."

The ATO says while there had been some "corruption of data", the information was being restored from backup systems.

It said the fault was not due to any external factors, but a type of failure in storage hardware that contractor Hewlett-Packard Enterprises had never encountered anywhere in the world.

It has promised a full investigation into the outage and will try and fast-track any refunds because of it.

"We will work with any client to ensure they are not disadvantaged as a result."

The failure prompted the Institute of Public Accountants to reiterate its call for compensation for lost time and productivity.

The body, which has more than 35,000 members, said the ATO has offered constant reassurances that its systems will be fixed.

"These reassurances are now falling on deaf ears of our members when the portal goes down for two days this week," IPA CEO Andrew Conway said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Our member feedback has consistently stated that the ATO portal, which is an essential tool of trade for practitioners and agents, has been a constant point of frustration due to the portal's instability and unreliability."

It comes a day after the Inspector-General of Taxation found tax practitioners had "met with significant difficulty in seeking compensation for losses" in relation to ATO system outages.

The report, stemming from a review into the taxpayers' charter and taxpayer protections, recommended the ATO provide internal review of compensation decisions where taxpayers can provide "new information or grounds which warrant the decision being reconsidered by a new and independent decision maker".

The ATO agreed to the recommendations in principle.