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Aussies lash out over ATO tax return queue: ‘Absolute bollocks’

The ATO is directing some users to an online waiting room to deal with an influx of demand.

ATO logo and waiting room message.
Some Aussies have been left frustrated after trying to lodge their tax returns via myGov. (Source: ATO/Twitter)

Aussies trying to lodge their tax returns have expressed their frustration at being placed in an online queue, with some taxpayers waiting in line for more than an hour.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said it was currently experiencing high demand for its online services and had been directing some users to an online waiting room.

“Hang tight! You’re in the queue,” the ATO Online waiting room message displayed to some users reads.

“To ensure the best experience when you gain access to our online services, we’re currently managing the number of people who can login. Thanks for being patient.”

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A number of Aussies took to social media to express their outrage at the online queue, with many likening the experience to trying to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s Era tour.

“The Australian Government and ATO giving me PTSD flashbacks to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour Ticketek debacle... I better get some money back in my tax return to compensate me for this trauma,” one Twitter user said.

“Ah yes... @ato_gov_au ensuring you have "the best experience" by having you wait an indeterminate length of time to log in, instead of ramping up server capacity. Are they using Ticketek for their backend services?” another said.

“This queue to get into MyGov ATO is absolute bollocks. A queue to get into a website? Really?” a third person wrote.

“I thought that the whole point of access via internet was to avoid queues. So what's this?” another said.

ATO online queue.
Some users have been directed to this online waiting room message. (Source: Twitter)

High demand

The ATO said it had implemented its waiting room feature to deal with the high number of users flocking to the site.

“In order to manage high volumes of users accessing ATO Online services during Tax Time, we activated the ATO Online waiting room, which provides a waiting room experience to help manage user traffic and ensure system performance for ATO online users. There is no need to call and report this matter,” an ATO spokesperson said.

The ATO’s waiting room tool has been in place since April 2020 and works using a sequential queue.

“It is a standard method used by many organisations to manage online user experience. This means while some users are still able to access our online services without issue, others are placed in a queue to await access to services,” the spokesperson said.

The ATO reminded Aussies they had until October 31 to lodge their own tax return. If they are using a registered tax agent, they may be able to lodge later than this.

“We also remind taxpayers that waiting until the end of July allows the ATO to collect data from banks, financial institutions, private health insurers and government agencies to make the lodgment process smoother and easier and ensure any tax refund arrives faster,” the spokesperson said.

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