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Australian Taxation Office website crash related to previous hardware faults

The official website for the Australian Taxation Office crashed on Thursday morning with the tax office blaming issues related to hardware faults, which previously crashed the website in December.

The crash, which had still not been repaired by late afternoon, affected various portals related to ATO Online, including the Australian Business Register, while the ATO insisted no taxpayer information had been lost of compromised. 

"All available resources are working to resolve this as a priority," a systems update message on the ATO website read.

In December, the Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan called the then hardware crashes the "worst unplanned system outage in recent memory".

"I will be doing everything I can to learn from what has happened this week and to put in place any necessary changes to minimise the risk of any recurrence."

"This was an extremely unusual and unfortunate event with the outage caused by a significant and unprecedented failure of storage hardware," he said.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise's storage hardware, which had be been installed in November 2015, was blamed for the incident while Mr Jordan described it as state-of-the-art at the time of installation.

On Monday the new Vice President at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise told the Australian Financial Review he wanted the company to move on from the December disaster, setting the companies sights on helping organisations move towards cloud based storage.

Mr Jordan promised an independent review into the crash by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, costing $341,000, with its findings expected to be released in March.

The Tax Office hired the consultancy firm Accenture in 2004 to modernise its computer systems for $445 million, with the Audit Office later discovering the cost had blown out to $756.7 million when the system went live in 2010.

As of 12:43pm, when visitors reached the website they were greeted by the message saying the website was not available:

"You have tried to access the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. Our website is currently not available," the website read.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and assure you of our commitment to provide you with the best possible experience of using our online services. We thank you for your patience as we work to restore our services."

At 4.30pm users were told not to hold out hope for things to return to working order within the day, and promised a further update on Friday morning. 

"Unfortunately we are continuing to experience issues with the systems impacted by this morning's outage. These systems will not be available today," the website said. 

"We are working to resolve these issues as a priority, and will continue to keep the community informed of our progress."

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