Our Environment

About the ATO

Our role is to effectively manage and shape the tax and superannuation systems that support and fund services for Australians, including:

  • collecting revenue
  • administering the goods and services tax on behalf of the Australian states and territories
  • governing a range of programs that result in transfers and benefits back to the community
  • administering major aspects of Australia’s superannuation system
  • custodianship of the Australian Business Register.

We operate under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, within the Treasury portfolio, and are accountable under the Public Service Act 1999.

With around 18,500 employees we operate in all Australian states and territories. The diversity of our workforce brings together a broad range of skills and experiences – from accounting, auditing and law to customer service, information technology, and marketing – helping us to deliver for the government and the community.

We are committed to the APS Values and Code of conduct. We are impartial, committed to service, accountable, respectful and ethical.

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For information on our organisational structure click here

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The scale of our activities

  • Gross revenue collected: More than $419.2 billion
  • Administered expenses paid: $9.7 billion
  • Refunds paid: $97.5 billion
  • Individual clients: 12.3 million
  • Small business clients: Around 2.7 million
  • Large or multinational companies clients: 1,250
  • Self-managed super funds: 534,000
  • Practitioners (tax and BAS agents): 55,000
(Data source: Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2013–14)

Operating environment


The ATO is expected to deliver on commitments to government, work with other entities and implement new budget measures. The ATO will contribute to APS reforms to be more connected, nimble and smaller. This includes initiatives such as the contestability programme, shared services, red tape reduction and digital transformation.


In response to community and government needs, we have created and released our Reinventing the ATO Blueprint. This blueprint was built on extensive consultation and an understanding of the interactions people have with the tax and superannuation systems and other government services. It describes the kind of experience that Australians can expect to have when they deal with the ATO.

We are already working to the blueprint. Some changes will happen in the near future and other changes will take longer and be influenced by many factors, including legislative direction, finance, and our work with other agencies. We have published, and will update regularly, a series of Every year counts that provide an overview of the changes different market segments will experience over the coming year.

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For more information on our reinvention click here

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Service expectations

Information and communications technology is increasing public sector and national productivity by enabling delivery of better government services. The community expects a better whole-of-government experience with security of data and protection of privacy, and we are committed to meeting these expectations.

Working with partners

The tax and superannuation systems cannot work without the tax profession, financial advisors and other intermediaries. Not only do they play a significant functional role, they also play a major role in influencing attitudes towards the tax and superannuation systems. We need a productive and open relationship with these business partners and intermediaries where we can identify and deal with issues early, in a transparent and timely fashion.


Tax administrations around the globe must adapt to address increasingly complex and dynamic cross border issues. Greater leadership internationally is essential for Australia to combat corporate tax base erosion and profit-shifting. We will play a crucial role in leading international cooperation to ensure multinational corporations pay the right amount of tax in Australia.

Tight fiscal environment

The ATO is operating in a tight fiscal environment, where all government agencies are under pressure to do business differently and achieve more with less.

Internal systems and procedures

Within the ATO, we have begun our own red tape reduction and simplification. This means decluttering the organisation and reducing the bureaucratic processes and layers that have built up over time.

    Last modified: 06 Jul 2015QC 40581