The ATO has issued a warning about upcoming system outages over April and May that it says are required to “provide resilient and stable systems” for tax time 2017. Thankfully the planned outages are to be limited to weekends, but also the longer weekend over Easter (see here for dates and times).

The ATO advises that there are some steps practitioners can take to prepare for the planned system outages during April and May. “If you intend to work during the outages, it is important you review online details or download online reports before the outage times,” it says.

Some examples of what you can do include:

  • Printing or downloading:
    • income tax lodgment status
    • outstanding activity statements
    • client account running balance
    • PAYG instalment
    • pre-fill data
    • senior Australians tax offset
    • year-to-date revenue product summary
    • year-to-date interest summary
    • year-to-date excise revenue product summary
    • document identification numbers (DINs).
  • Arranging for any likely deferrals ahead of time
  • Prioritising IT returns for refunds and lodging before March 27 for payment before Easter
  • Collecting all ELS reports from your primary gateways, in particular those who have Waymouth (Adelaide) as their primary gateway.

“We will work with you to ensure you and your clients are not disadvantaged as a result of these outages,” the ATO says. It encourages practitioners and their clients to lodge and pay on time.

“Anyone experiencing difficulties with lodging or making payments will not be subject to penalties, interest or follow-up action,” it says, “providing lodgment and payment is made by:

  • May 5, 2017 for the April 21, 2017 monthly activity statement and PAYGW instalments
  • May 12, 2017 for the April 28, 2017 quarterly activity statements.”

The ATO says these concessions will be automatically applied.