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  • ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report 2016–17


    About the Regulator Performance Framework

    As part of the government’s regulatory reform agenda, the government released its Regulator Performance Framework under the 2014 Spring Repeal Day. The Framework is an important element of the government’s commitment to reduce the cost of unnecessary or inefficient regulation imposed on individuals, business and community. As a regulator, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is required to self-assess its performance against the Regulator Performance Framework.

    The Regulator Performance Framework comprises six outcomes-based key performance indicators (KPIs) and associated measures. The KPIs articulate the government’s overarching expectations of regulator performance, namely that:

    • regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities
    • communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective
    • actions undertaken by regulators are proportionate to the risk being managed
    • compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated
    • regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities
    • regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.

    About this report

    The Commissioner of Taxation is responsible for administering Australia’s tax system and significant aspects of Australia’s superannuation system, and operates as the Australian Government’s principal revenue collection agency. We administer legislation governing tax, and support the delivery of government benefits to the community.

    This report addresses the Regulator Performance Framework’s ATO-specific metrics and reporting requirements agreed with the Board of Taxation in 2015. It is an assessment of our performance as a regulator for the 2016–17 financial year.

    The 2015–16 ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report forms the basis for reporting in 2016–17. The areas of improvement identified in 2015–16 were to:

    • enhance our understanding of businesses operating environments – we will continue our research to understand these environments.
    • continue to tailor communication and services to clients, tax professionals and others interacting with the tax and superannuation systems to ensure they are aware of available services and have the information and support they need to make it easier to participate.
    • make greater use of data and pre-fill to improve the ATO’s data matching capability, for both service and compliance purposes to further support the shift towards help and prevention activities.
    • further rationalise and rewrite of information on our website to provide enhanced general tax guidance and navigation to help people get things right.
    • make certain that guidance and information is up-to-date, concise, accessible, clear, timely and provides certainty at the earliest possible stage.
    • continue to make improvements to provide a more personalised disputes process service and improve the perception of fairness in disputes.
    • take a more consultative approach to issues that directly affect individuals and business and exploring this on a more detailed level to identify where improvements can be made.

    How we assess our performance

    The following table shows the rating methodology and definitions we use to assess our performance.




    Met all expectations with no further improvements required.

    Very good

    Made significant improvements, with programs of work almost complete. Significantly exceeded service commitments.


    Improvements consistent with expectations, with some further work required, as reflected in feedback. Exceeded service commitments.


    Met base expectations as expected and all service commitments achieved.

    Requires development

    Did not meet base expectations or service commitments.

    The metrics we use to assess our performance as set in 2015 are a mix of 43 metrics. These are made up of 11 ongoing ATO service commitments and two 2015–16 service commitments that have been retained for Regulator Performance Framework reporting only (seven of these commitments are based on client survey results). There are also 10 additional client surveys, six outcome-based metrics and 14 activity-based metrics.

    Of these metrics, 21 are also reported in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2016–17, with seven of these (focused on key survey and outcome-based metrics) included in the annual performance statement. The annual performance statement reports on our performance under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 in achieving our purpose.

    Our purpose is to contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of Australians by fostering willing participation in the tax and superannuation systems. We achieve this through the delivery of our goals:

    • making it easier for people to participate
    • delivering contemporary and tailored service
    • ensuring purposeful and respectful relationships
    • a professional and productive organisation.

    In assessing the quality of our performance against each metric, we have regard to:

    • Results compared to our performance targets for mature and well-established metrics, such as those included in our annual performance statement and some service commitments.
      • We assess our performance targets annually to determine where existing results are expected to be maintained and where future performance is expected to be stronger.
    • Trend improvement for metrics which are still relatively new, such as our survey-based metrics.
      • As these metrics mature, we will establish appropriate performance targets.
    • Activity-based or volume-based metrics having a less direct relationship to the quality of our performance.
      • For these metrics, an increase in the volume of activity does not automatically mean an improvement, or a decline, in our performance.

    Our service commitments have been designed to assure the ATO and the community that the services we provide are of a consistent and high standard and therefore form an important component of assessing regulation imposed on individuals, business and community. Many of our commitments have targets that are meaningful to our clients and challenge us to deliver the best possible service.

    We regularly report on our ongoing service commitments on

    Results for our survey-based metrics are based on a representative sample of the overall population, in order to ensure their statistical validity. We measure the perceptions of the general community (who have not recently interacted with us) to understand their views of the overall tax system and community sentiment regarding the ATO. We also measure perceptions of those who have recently interacted with us to understand and improve the client experience. Where surveys require direct interaction with the community – for example, via a phone survey – the interaction is undertaken by an external provider, in order to ensure the independence and integrity of results. For our survey-based metrics, 2016–17 results reflect survey outcomes for the full financial year, whereas results for previous years reflect outcomes for part of that financial year.

    We will continue to monitor and assess performance as we build on the outcomes we have achieved to date.

    For more information about the performance of the ATO, refer to:

      Last modified: 20 Dec 2017QC 54083