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$100m losses, delays from Telstra, myGov outages

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$100m losses, delays from Telstra, myGov outages

Telstra and MyGov

The government portal myGov has reportedly locked out many users seeking details on their tax returns, a day after a widespread Telstra outage hit retailers and banks.

The official myGov Twitter account tweeted at around midday on Friday (12 June) that “some people are currently having issues accessing myGov”.

“We are urgently investigating the issue and will keep you updated here. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please try again later,” it said.

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Responding to myGov’s tweet, some users suggested that all user access was being denied. However, My Business was successfully able to log in around 2pm on Friday while the issues were still persisting.

The technical problems come amid a spike in the number of people lodging their tax return early, despite the ATO urging Australians to wait. My Business sister title Accountants Daily reported that 810,000 individual tax returns had already been lodged by 10 July — an 88 per cent increase on the number lodged by the same time last year.

In a statement issued to taxpayers via myGov, the ATO urged people to hold off submitting their tax return this year until after 31 July, as employers grapple with the transition to Single Touch Payroll.

“The way you get your payment summary information is changing. Your end-of-year payment summary information, now called an income statement, will be available through myGov for you or your tax agent,” it said.

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“It’s important to wait until your employer marks your information as tax-ready before your tax return is lodged. Most employers have until 31 July to do this, and we’ll send a message to your myGov inbox when it is tax-ready.

“If you lodge your tax return before your income statement is tax-ready, you may need to lodge an amendment. In some cases, additional tax and interest may be payable.”

The statement continued: “If you have more than one job, your other employers may still need to provide you with a payment summary. Make sure all income is included when lodging your tax return.

“This change is because many employers are now required to report pay and super information direct to us each pay day. All employers will eventually report this way.”

Around 4.40pm on Friday, myGov tweeted that access had been restored to most users.

“SERVICES RESTORED: Thanks for your patience during today’s outage,” it said.

“myGov is now available, however a small amount of people may still experience intermittent issues logging in as we return to full capacity.”

Even before 30 June, taxpayers were being warned to delay submitting their tax return for the 2018–19 financial year, in part because of Single Touch Payroll and also because the federal government’s tax cuts had yet to be passed.

Those tax cuts have now been approved and implemented by parliament.

Telstra outage knocks out electronic payments

Meanwhile, the nation’s largest telco was forced to apologise after outages hit its network, including those used by retailers and businesses to process electronic card payments as well as much of Australia’s ATM network.

Dominique Lamb, CEO of the National Retail Association, suggested during a television interview that retailers had collectively lost an estimated $100 million as a result of the three-hour outage.

“We apologise for the interruption to some data services yesterday afternoon. We know how frustrating this was and worked to restore them as quickly as possible,” a Telstra spokesperson said in a brief statement.

“The outage occurred from approximately 2.30pm to 5.30pm on 11 July, impacting some of Telstra’s IP network services, including EFTPOS, ATM and some payment platforms. We are continuing to investigate the exact cause of this issues, but early investigations suggest it was caused by an unusually large volume of traffic across network links in NSW.”

The spokesperson added: “All services have now been restored. We’re really sorry for the impact and inconvenience to business and their customers.”

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) urged Telstra customers, including small businesses, affected by the outage to complain directly with the telco in the first instance.

“Telstra customers impacted by the national EFTPOS outage yesterday (Thursday, 11 July 2019) who have an issue they would like Telstra to address should contact Telstra in the first instance,” it said in a statement issued on Friday.

“If the matter remains unresolved, the consumer or small business can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman via phone 1800 062 058 or online at www.tio.com.au.”

The technical problems come amid a substantial cost-cutting program by Telstra, including the loss of 8,000 permanent jobs, on top of thousands more contractor roles, which the telco referred to as its “indirect workforce” in its half-year results in February.

Around three-quarters of the permanent roles were due to have been cut by 30 June, Telstra said in a subsequent market briefing at the end of May.

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