The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has reiterated its call for compensation for accountants’ lost time and productivity due to the failure of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) technology. 

“We are constantly being reassured by the ATO that it will fix its system going forward and practitioners can expect more robust ATO interactions from the deployment of better technology in 2017. These reassurances are now falling on deaf ears of our members when the portal goes down for two days this week,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway. 

“In 2015, the ATO acknowledged that its use of technology and administrative changes combined with the existing ATO portal issues have added to the frustrations and lost productivity for many small tax practitioners. 

The portal downtime this week coincides with the release of the Inspector General of Taxation (IGT) report (Review into the Taxpayers’ Charter and Taxpayer Protections) which highlight deficiencies in the Compensation for Detriment Causes by Defective Administration (CDDA) scheme. The report confirms that the CCDA scheme does not adequately address productivity loss, opportunity costs (particularly for tax practitioners) or psychological injury. It further states that the CCDA scheme does not adequately compensate for losses arising from major ATO changes in process or IT. 

“Most tax agent practitioners are small businesses themselves working hard to service the interests of their clients. 

“Our members have highlighted to us on many occasions that they have suffered productivity loss, missed deadlines, and incurred irrecoverable costs as well as damage to their reputations and relationships with their clients. 

“We have and continue to provide the ATO with real examples of these practical issues. 

“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. 

“We acknowledge the ATO is acutely aware of these issues and our obligation is to voice the concerns on behalf of our members. 

“We will continue to work with the ATO to ensure the system is fixed for all concerned,” said Mr Conway.