The ATO expects more disruption to its online services

(Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) sees more outages ahead for its systems used to lodge tax returns.

In an update, the ATO says it’s doing everything it can to minimise the risk of more outages but it can’t give guarantees.

“We do anticipate there may be some further minimal disruption to our services as we continue work to implement the IT improvements,” the ATO says.

The ATO acknowledged that the outages impacts tax practitioners, the superannuation industry and digital service providers.

“We are working to minimise any inconvenience of these issues and importantly, provide certainty around the assistance and support available from the ATO should they be unable to meet their tax obligations through no fault of their own,” the ATO says.

The ATO is continuing to investigate triggers and causes of the outages.

“We can confirm recent events have not been related to our storage area network (SAN), but have been caused by other hardware or mainframe issues, and sometimes simply human error,” the ATO says.

There will be no penalties for failure to lodge on time related to the late 2015-16 income tax returns and activity statements due to be lodged from December 2016 as long as they are lodged by August 31.

“These arrangements will be put in place automatically – tax practitioners, their clients and other taxpayers do not need to contact the ATO,” the organisation says.

The ATO says it has already received more than 700,000 income tax returns from individuals and tax agents and issued more than $500 million in refunds.

The ATO’s websites and online systems crashed over a number of days in December, and again in January, February and this month.