• GST administration annual performance report 2014–15

    Foreword

    On behalf of the Commissioner of Taxation, I am pleased to present the ATO GST administration annual performance report for 2014–15.

    This year we introduced changes designed to transform the client experience and improve the community’s confidence in our administration of GST. This is consistent with the ATO organisational goals as outlined in the ATO strategic intent.

    This Annual Report outlines that we have delivered a high standard of service and implemented positive changes for clients while reducing the costs associated with GST administration by $9.3 million (or 1.3%) and collecting $3.3 billion (or 6.4%) more in GST revenue.

    In 2014–15 we focused our attention on:

    • contributing internationally as a key player in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) guidelines on low value and imported services especially through the work of Working Party 9 on Consumption Taxes
    • providing earlier, clearer and more relevant advice to the community on our views and the GST implications of emerging issues and the digital economy
    • creating a dispute resolution culture that promotes earlier engagement with our clients to arrive at sensible decisions and explores opportunities to improve our dispute processes
    • maintaining a strong focus on deliberate evasion of GST obligations particularly organised evasion within the gold bullion refining and processing industry
    • working collaboratively with industry to develop appropriate and reasonable approaches, for example the GST cooperative assurance framework
    • using intelligence and analytical models to better target our compliance activities and reduce known irritants for the business community.

    Our transformational change has seen us increase our emphasis on improving the client experience, making it easier for businesses to participate and meet their commitments. To assist the small business community, in August 2014 we launched the Small business newsroom that provides quick access to the latest GST news and information.

    The changes we implemented throughout the year underpin our positive performance measure results, which include:

    • finalising 83% of GST refund claims stopped for review within 14 days, up from 65% last year
    • achieving the lowest cost per GST registrant in three years at $259
    • improving ‘on time’ and ‘overall’ lodgment performance along as well as increasing the percentage of business activity statements (BAS) lodged electronically
    • reducing the number of GST objections received by 10% on last year, now at the lowest level since 2008–09
    • reducing the inflow of new GST debt, with 4.1% less debt than last year
    • current GST litigation matters at the end of 2014–15 being the lowest since 2005–06 and 28% lower than last year.

    The GST Voluntary Compliance Program continues to perform strongly, exceeding all revenue commitments again this year. This success has been recognised with the program’s funding extended for a further three years, taking the program through to 30 June 2019. As importantly the GST benchmarking survey results show a gradual improvement in the business community’s attitude towards the GST system.

    Our ongoing analysis of the GST gap provides a useful insight into the effectiveness of our organisational changes. In 2014–15 there continued to be a downward trend, with the net GST gap (without debt) as a percentage of theoretical revenue being 4.9%, the lowest result since 2009–10.

    Our colleagues at the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service also undertook an organisational change program during the year. On

    1 July 2015 the new Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) was established, bringing together the functions of the existing Department of Immigration and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The DIBP continued to play an important role in GST administration during 2014–15 with their compliance activities identifying a total of $130.1 million in GST understatements. This is a significant increase of 62% on the previous year and includes a voluntary disclosure of $52.1 million.

    Finally, I would like to thank the Treasury, the States and Territories representatives on the GST Administration Subcommittee, the members of the GST Policy and Administration Subgroup, and the States and Territories Representative, John Corlis, for their ongoing support and advice during the year.

    James O'Halloran

    Deputy Commissioner, Indirect Tax

      Last modified: 14 Dec 2015QC 47462