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  • KPI 5 performance summary

    Regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities

    The following table shows the measures of good regulatory performance and the related metrics. The results of the metrics and analysis are outlined in the Appendix.

    Measure

    Description

    Metric(s)

    5.1

    Ensure risk-based frameworks are publicly available in a format which is clear, understandable and accessible.

    5.2

    Be open and responsive to requests from taxpayers regarding the operation of the tax and superannuation systems, and approaches implemented by the ATO.

    16, 25, 26,39–41

    5.3

    Ensure performance measurement results are published in a timely manner to ensure accountability to the public.

    5.4

    Ensure disputes are dealt with in an open and transparent manner.

    42

    Note: There are no specific metrics for measure 5.1 or 5.3, as per the ATO Regulator Performance Framework.

    Self-assessment rating: Good

    This assessment is based on the results of the metrics relating to each measure and the examples of how we are open and transparent in our dealings with regulated entities.

    Summary of metric results

    There was a performance improvement in four of the seven metrics for this KPI with three showing a decline.

    We publish our performance for all our service commitments monthly on ato.gov.au, and report on the performance of the ATO in achieving its purpose annually. We report on the performance criteria published in the Portfolio Budget Statements and our Corporate Plan through the annual performance statement included in the Commissioner of Taxation’s Annual Report.

    Results for the following three client surveys showed improvements in the perception of our clients:

    • ATO lets them know of status or delays
    • able to contact the ATO in a way that they want
    • fairness in disputes.

    In addition, although results show a slight decline in three of the service commitments, we exceeded the relevant performance targets for delivery of services.

    There was a slight decline in the results of our client survey addressing the perception that the time taken by ATO is acceptable. However, this remains significantly higher than the 2014–15 result, mainly due to increases for small business clients and tax professionals, as well as for inbound phone and online channels.

    Activity-based examples

    While our emphasis is on helping people willingly comply with their tax obligations, we take action to protect the integrity of the Australian taxation system and ensure everyone pays the right amount of tax. We have been transforming the way we assess our risks and the strategies we use to address them.

    We use the risk-differentiation framework to help us assess tax risk and determine the intensity of our response in a coherent, consistent and considered way. It complements the compliance model, which suggests an appropriate choice of remedy. The compliance model is a structured way of understanding and improving taxpayer compliance. It helps us to understand the factors that influence taxpayer behaviour and to apply the most appropriate compliance strategy. Our risk-differentiation framework and compliance model are openly available on ato.gov.au.

    All tax returns are scrutinised for individuals. The information is matched with third-party data and against various risk indicators, to identify errors and irregularities for specific groups, such as occupations and industries, the workforces of specific employers, and some types of investors. We also support tax agents by providing them with a ‘risk picture’ customised to their client base.

    We completed 161 formal early engagement for advice requests from privately owned and wealthy groups and responded to a further 214 enquiries about the service over the year. We also improved our online content during the year to make it easier for clients to request advice or a call back.

    The success of the service is highlighted by increasing demand from private groups. Other client groups have also requested access to the service, and we extended it to small businesses and individuals in September 2016.

    As we become aware of significant commercial deals involving privately owned and wealthy groups we offer to work with clients. Understanding the nature of the deal and working with clients as the transactions are in the planning phase or as they occur, helps to prevent errors and disputes. During the year, we have worked with clients on 150 significant commercial deals.

    Our early engagement and alternative dispute resolution have resulted in a 61% reduction in the number of appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal since 2013–14; from 922 in 2013–14 to 357 appeals in 2016–17. We introduced Dispute Assist and Fast Intensive Triage initiatives to streamline, fast-track and support the resolution of objections. This had an immediate positive impact, resolving disputes more quickly. Our alternative dispute resolution approaches are an excellent example of supporting our clients – reducing time, money and angst.

    We aim to resolve disputes as early as possible. We have implemented a number of strategies to deal with disputes in an open and transparent manner.

    For the individuals market, we offer in-house facilitation and adopt a collaborative approach to dispute resolution by ensuring the right people are engaged at the earliest opportunity with the skills to resolve the dispute. For vulnerable taxpayers with significant personal circumstances, we provide an independent person to assist them through the process, and explore what options are available for the payment of any outstanding amounts.

    For small businesses, we are resolving disputes earlier and without the need for litigation. Settled disputes with small businesses accounted for 50% of all settlements – overall we are engaging with small businesses more frequently and using settlements as an effective means of resolving disputes.

      Last modified: 20 Dec 2017QC 54083