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  • KPI 6 performance summary

    Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks

    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.





    Establish cooperative and collaborative relationships with stakeholders to promote trust and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ATO administration.

    1–2, 43


    Engage stakeholders in the development of options to reduce compliance costs.



    Regularly share feedback from stakeholders and performance information with policy departments to improve the operation of the tax and superannuation systems and associated administrative processes.

    Note: There are no specific metrics for measure 6.3, 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 contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.

    Summary of metric results

    There was a performance improvement in two of the three metrics for this KPI.

    The perceptions of our clients as to the ATO consults about issues that affect them showed an improvement compared to 2015–16 for business clients and a slight increase for our individual clients. This result reflects the ATO approach of proactively seeking feedback from clients, continuing to undertake research and facilitate online discussions (for example, ATO community, Let’s Talk), and other consultation processes. However, as the level of agreement remains relatively low compared to other survey responses, we recognise that further improvement is required.

    Strong results in the engagement and sharing of information with our stakeholders and working with government agencies to contribute to improvements in the operation of the tax and superannuation systems, are outlined in the following activity-based examples.

    Activity-based examples

    Stewardship groups have been established to consult on high-level significant matters where the outcomes are considered to be in the national interest, and provide opportunities to discuss the strategic direction of the tax system – specifically opportunities for improvements to its administration.

    In 2016–17, we consulted and co-designed with nearly 780 tax practitioners on almost 70 different matters, including Single Touch Payroll, superannuation new measures, improving online services, the client communications list, and single online business registration.

    We increased our face-to-face engagement with tax practitioners and their professional associations, conducting 45 open forums attended by over 4,130 tax practitioners. We supported 91 practitioner speaking engagements, including 39 discussion groups, 43 conferences and, four professional development seminars. We also ran live-stream webinars every two months, and these were attended by almost 6,100 practitioners.

    In addition, we distributed 98 editions of the Tax professionals newsletter, published over 240 articles to the Tax Professionals Newsroom, and assisted practitioners through our ‘Complex issue resolution’ service with around 1,130 queries that could not be resolved through traditional channels.

    The Research and Development Tax Incentive program is co-administered with AusIndustry. We have collaborated with them to provide targeted guidance and advice to assist taxpayers to make correct research and development tax incentive claims. We worked with AusIndustry to produce four new guidance publications to assist companies and their advisors to better understand the legislative requirements and correctly register activities. These publications cover software development, agriculture, building and construction and mining.

    We work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Treasury to help international communities improve their tax capability, particularly in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. This includes targeted technical assistance, increasing collaboration, secondment of our people, and knowledge sharing with the respective tax authorities.

    We participate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), contributing to key working parties, advocating Australia’s position through the ATO delegate to the OECD, and in our Commissioner’s leadership of key programs at the Forum on Tax Administration (FTA).

    Australia’s sponsorship of the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) continues to influence the FTA strategic work program through a network of 37 countries working collaboratively to achieve shared taxpayer, industry or arrangement-specific outcomes.

    We lead a cross-jurisdictional initiative through the JITSIC network in response to the Panama Papers, in which JITSIC members have established a framework to allow for fast, effective and coordinated multilateral responses to any future data leaks. The unprecedented scale of data and intelligence exchanged globally, within established legal frameworks, has demonstrated the agility of the network in tackling issues.

    The ATO works closely with Treasury in adding value and insight in the process of making tax law, by providing a whole-of-ATO view in the development of new measures. Advocacy for sound tax policy continues as an active body of work. Some examples include:

    • implementation of the newly enacted Commissioner’s Remedial Power – we engaged with Treasury, other government agencies, external stakeholders and the community throughout the design process and its administration
    • delivery of the 2016 superannuation reforms – we worked with Treasury on the design of the law to ensure that the legislation can be administered to deliver the policy intent. This included advocating for law changes to streamline the treatment of release authorities in the law.

    We work with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to provide timely and relevant information to those who have just started their business through a series of emails. This gives them useful information they may not otherwise know in the crucial first 12 months of business operation.

    The Commissioner’s Remedial Power, which came into effect in March 2017, provides limited powers to modify the operation of tax and superannuation law to resolve smaller unintended or unforeseen outcomes. This power can be used as a last resort where alternative options, such as administrative or interpretive approaches, are not adequate to resolve an issue that is adversely impacting on entities. This gives entities greater certainty that unintended negative outcomes will be resolved in a timely manner.

    The ATO has led the implementation of this discretionary power by establishing the necessary administrative processes, including:

    • a process for the community to make submissions for possible exercises of the CRP
    • a secretariat to support its administration
    • an advisory panel with representatives from the ATO, Treasury and the private sector.

    As issues can be raised by anyone in the community, the CRP facilitates the community’s engagement with, and trust in, the tax system.

    For the period up to 30 June 2017, two candidates for exercise of the Commissioner’s Remedial Power have been considered by the panel, with one also being consulted on publicly.

      Last modified: 20 Dec 2017QC 54083