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  • 02 Environment

    Delivering on our priorities for 2016–17 through to 2019–20 requires an understanding of the environment in which we operate. Our operating environment is influenced by factors at the internal, domestic and international level. Successful strategies require proper consideration of these influences; both those that we can use to deliver improved outcomes and those that must be understood and managed as risks.

    Service expectations

    As client expectations change, we need to balance the costs and benefits of meeting expectations with making responsible decisions about technology, business and capability investments. We need to understand the risks to our outcomes and the level of investment required to mitigate those risks.

    Working with stakeholders and scrutineers

    Tax and superannuation professionals play an important role in helping individuals and businesses meet their tax and superannuation obligations. They also have a role in helping to maintain community confidence in the system. We are committed to working with practitioners to ensure they have input into the design of future ATO products and services that will lead to an improved experience for them and their clients.

    As the way in which we interact is changing, emerging new partnerships influence community perceptions of the tax and superannuation systems. For example, software developers are now building software products that enable tax practitioners and businesses to interact more easily with the ATO.

    Our scrutineers are crucial to maintaining community trust and confidence in the tax and superannuation systems. Our relationship with scrutineers, such as the Australian National Audit Office and the Inspector-General of Taxation, are important in ensuring we work together to provide confidence to the community in the integrity of the system as a whole.

    Fiscal responsibility

    The ongoing tight fiscal environment means all government agencies are under pressure to do business differently and achieve more with less – for example, through initiatives such as the contestability program, shared and common services, red tape reduction and the digital transformation agenda.

    We have the appropriate systems and governance in place to manage our budget and track the return on our investments, to ensure we are realising expected benefits. Labour, technology and property are our most significant expenses. These require medium to long term planning and must be balanced with responsiveness to changes and opportunities arising from government.

    Changing APS

    As a large agency in the Australian Public Service, we are reshaping our workforce to optimise our capability and performance. Workforce design and streamlining are reducing duplication both within and between agencies, with shared and common services supporting a more seamless client experience.

    These changes within the ATO and across the public sector need to be balanced with our commitments to delivering on our core business.

    Cyber security

    The pace at which new technology is emerging presents challenges in identifying new risks while taking advantage of the new technology to support a better client experience.

    We are committed to meeting community expectations for data security and privacy protection. We will consider and manage risks associated with new technology to protect the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems. We will continue to work with the Digital Transformation Office and across government to rationalise how authentication and authorisation is managed, and to continuously strengthen the security of digital services.

    Maintaining community confidence

    The ATO supports those who choose to do the right thing and deals with those who do not. In a globalised environment, tax administrations must adapt to address increasingly complex and dynamic cross-border tax issues.

    Greater international cooperation is essential for Australia to combat corporate tax base erosion and profit-shifting. The ATO is a key player in leading international cooperation to ensure multinational corporations pay the right amount of tax in Australia. We will continue this focus.

      Last modified: 22 Aug 2016QC 49917