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ATO waives some fines for late tax returns

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July 12, 2017

The ATO will not - where possible - penalise people who fail to lodge their 2015/16 returns on time.

Some Australians will be spared fines for late or incomplete tax returns following a series of issues with the online tax system.

The Australian Taxation Office was hit by more computer problems last week, following major outages in June, February and December.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the ATO said it anticipates more disruptions to services as it works to improve its IT systems.

"We acknowledge the more regular nature of these incidents recently continues to impact on those stakeholders - tax practitioners, the superannuation industry and digital service providers - who rely on the availability of our systems," it said.

Officials were working to minimise any inconvenience and provide support to those unable to meet their tax obligations through no fault of their own.

"We understand that tax practitioners, their clients and other taxpayers have been struggling to catch up and meet the various lodgment requirements related to tax," the statement read.

"Tax practitioners and taxpayers will not be disadvantaged by the impacts of our system issues."

The ATO will not - where possible - impose penalties on people who fail to lodge their 2015/16 income tax returns on time.

Those due to lodge activity statements by December will also be spared, provided 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."

More than 700,000 income tax returns have already been lodged and more than $500 million in refunds issued.

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