MyTax outage a lesson for all government services

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No, it’s a not appropriate to load test on your citizens in production — particularly when it’s a critical service. Instead of assigning blame or getting defensive, digital government consultant Craig Thomler says the ATO needs to show it can recover from this disaster and learn from the private sector.

The last week has seen a range of major issues for the Australian Government’s new MyTax service.

As reported across both traditional and social media, people using MyTax to file their tax returns have experienced shut-outs, had the process freeze when they were almost complete and had it fail to autofill their pre-saved details.

MyTax is an online version of the eTax software which had been the primary way for people to digitally complete their tax returns for the last fifteen years. eTax improved year on year and had enormous take-up. In all respects it was a major success for the ATO.

This is the first year the Australian Tax Office has deployed the MyTax system and integrated it with MyGov. While the intention was, and is, good — to give Australians a single way to validate themselves with multiple government agencies — the implementation in this case hasn’t withstood the real world.

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  • CM58

    Here here – you want to try being inside the organisation when the change program was implemented!

  • G.B. Bear

    Interesting commentary but needs a fact check. Mytax was deployed last year (for the financial year 2013-14 year returns). This, the end of the 14-15 year, is its second run, with more people being able to use it. Citizens also do have an alternative, albeit not free, in being able to lodge through a tax agent or, heaven forbid, use paper. On what basis do you suggest capacity was the issue, or the major issue? Too simplistic and disappointingly shallow analysis.

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