The Scheme for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA) is currently under review by the government, as the existing framework doesn’t cover professions such as tax agents to claim a loss during technology outages.
Andrew Conway, Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) chief executive, said it was not currently fit for purpose, especially as accountants faced rising costs from increased regulation and compliance requirements.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) was hit by several unplanned outages in recent months which caused problems for accountants trying to use the service.
“We recognise the fact that the ATO has worked hard to fix system faults that have been a blight on its operations in recent years,” Conway said.
“System downtimes such as that experienced last week comes at a huge expense for many of our members and quite simply, a mere apology doesn’t go far enough.
“Practitioners who lose productivity time need to be compensated. It is real time and it’s real income that is lost. Time is an accountant’s commodity.”
Conway said public accountants had to work double time to make up for the lost time caused by the ATO’s system failures.
“While we understand that outages are a fact of life, unless the provider is adversely impacted and share the pain, there will not be a change in their approach,” Conway said.
“We recognise that it can be difficult to quantify the non-economic losses and the fact that not all intermediaries are equally affected. This should not be a reason for not providing redress.”