As thousands of Australians try to submit their tax returns, the main online portal for federal government services has gone down.
In an outage that will also affect thousands of welfare recipients across the country, the MyGov site appeared to be unavailable on Friday morning, returning an error.
The Department of Human Services said via MyGov’s Twitter account there were “technical difficulties” with the website.
“We are urgently investigating the issue and we’re working hard to fix this as quickly as possible,” it repeatedly said in replies to people reporting the error.
A department of human services spokeswoman said: “Some services, including myGov, are currently unavailable or experiencing slowness. The department is working on the issue and apologises for the inconvenience.”
The Australian Taxation Office also tweeted that “some of our services (incl. the portals & our online services via myGov) are currently unavailable or experiencing slowness”.
The outage could also have significant impact on welfare recipients, who use MyGov to contact Centrelink and avoid having their income support temporarily cut off.
Centrelink was directing people to call to report their income and attendance at compulsory activities. Guardian Australia contacted the department for comment.
More than a million people have filed tax returns since the start of July seeking to take advantage of newly legislated tax cuts. The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, tweeted that more than 1.1 million tax returns had been lodged by Thursday morning compared with 600,000 by the same time last year.
The new single-touch payroll system means most workers have to access the online system to retrieve their payroll summaries for their tax returns this year.
This month the government passed its $158bn tax package that it campaigned for at the federal election in May. As a result, people earning up to $126,000 will be entitled to a refund of between $255 and $1,080 when they submit their 2018-19 tax return.
You can find out what refund you’ll be entitled to in the Guardian’s tax calculator guide.