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  • Assessment of performance

    Overall self-assessment rating: Good

    As a regulator of the tax and superannuation systems in Australia, we have assessed our overall performance against the Regulator Performance Framework to be good.

    This assessment is based on the outcomes of our metrics and the improvements made for each the six key performance indicators (KPIs). We have assessed our performance to be good for each of the six KPIs. Details of our assessment are outlined in the individual KPI summaries.

    Overall we achieved positive results for 14 of the 43 ATO-specific metrics with 11 remaining relatively stable, eight showing a decline and 10 based on activities (where trend in the metrics does not accurately reflect performance).

    Following is a breakdown of our assessment for each KPI. Some metrics apply to more than one KPI, with results for these metrics included within the summary for all relevant KPIs.

    KPI 1: Regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities

    Assessment:

    Good

    Summary of metric results:

    Improved or met performance target – 6

    Stable – 4

    Decline – 3

    Activity-based (where trend does not reflect performance) – 2

    Activity-based examples:

    Government superannuation reform implementation

    Single Touch Payroll implementation

    Tax Help Program

    KPI 2: Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective

    Assessment:

    Good

    Summary of metric results:

    Improved or met performance target – 6

    Stable – 3

    Decline – 2

    Activity-based (where trend does not reflect performance) – 5

    Activity-based examples:

    Increased online visibility of their client accounts for tax practitioners

    Communication of public advice and guidance

    Occupation guides and fact sheets on work-related expenses

    KPI 3: Actions undertaken by regulators are proportionate to the regulatory risk being managed

    Assessment:

    Good

    Summary of metric results:

    Improved or met performance target – 1

    Stable – 1

    Decline – 0

    Activity-based (where trend does not reflect performance) – 2

    Activity-based examples:

    Tax gap analysis

    Taskforce work to address tax avoidance

    Tailored one-to-one engagements to obtain justified trust

    KPI 4: Compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated

    Assessment:

    Good

    Summary of metric results:

    Improved or met performance target – 1

    Stable – 2

    Decline – 1

    Activity-based (where trend does not reflect performance) – 3

    Activity-based examples:

    Combining broadly sourced data sets to identify previously unknown relationships and risks.

    Enterprise client profile and enterprise view of risk

    Pre-filling transactions for individual taxpayers

    KPI 5: Regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities

    Assessment:

    Good

    Summary of metric results:

    Improved or met performance target – 3

    Stable – 0

    Decline – 3

    Activity-based (where trend does not reflect performance) – 1

    Activity-based examples:

    Early engagement for advice

    Alternative dispute resolution

    Independent Assurance of Settlements program

    KPI 6: Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks

    Assessment:

    Good

    Summary of metric results:

    Improved or met performance target – 0

    Stable – 1

    Decline – 1

    Activity-based (where trend does not reflect performance) – 1

    Activity-based examples:

    Treasury partnership

    Stewardship groups

    OECD participation

    The 2016–17 ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report forms the basis for reporting in 2017–18. Progress regarding areas of improvement identified in 2016–17 is set out below:

    Areas for improvement

    Areas for improvement identified in 2016–17 report

    Progress in 2017–18

    Tailoring communication and services to clients, ensuring an understanding of available services.

    Improved: Improvements in perceptions of how we provide individual attention and consultation to clients, including status updates and reliability of information.

    Increasing the understanding of how the ATO is integrating its services with other government departments.

    Ongoing focus required: While we have contributed to a range of whole of government initiatives, outcomes declined in 2017–18 compared to the previous year.

    Being timely in responding to our clients and keeping them informed about status, delays and issues.

    Partially improved: We improved 2017–18 outcomes for keeping clients informed about status, delays and issues. However, timely responses remain an area for ongoing focus.

    Greater appreciation of, and empathy for, taxpayers, and the operating environment of businesses.

    Partially improved: Introduction of Single Touch Payroll in 2017–18 was a major milestone in providing clients with a streamlined and improved experience. However, perception outcomes were broadly stable compared to the previous year.

    More sophisticated use of data for both services and compliance purposes.

    Improved: In 2017–18, we completed the integration of risk models for our small business and individual clients. We are building an enterprise client profile, supplemented by an integrated whole-of-client, whole-of-system risk profile.

    Earlier engagement, greater transparency and cooperation with clients and tax professionals.

    Improved: Our early engagement strategy was extended to all of our client segments in 2017–18.

    Consulting on matters that directly affect our clients.

    Improved: Perceptions of how the ATO consults improved for individuals compared to the previous year, and improved significantly for both individuals and businesses when compared to 2015–16.

    In light of these factors and the results of our metrics, we consider that positive outcomes were achieved through 2017–18, in particular the reduction in unintended administrative costs for the community and meeting all target based service commitments.

    The 2018 Budget measures announced by Government show we are continually refreshing approaches to tax system integrity risks in this very dynamic environment. We see investments like these as a very strong indicator of confidence in our capabilities and ability to deliver results – and we are very proud of that.

    However, while we are pleased with our performance, our results can be better. We are committed to listening, empathising and understanding what and how we can improve our performance – particularly in terms of how the community and stakeholders perceive us; our services, efficiency, effectiveness and integrity. Their perception of whether we have treated taxpayers fairly and acted with integrity influences their willing participation in the tax and superannuation systems.

    We know we are not perfect and are always looking to improve. Inevitably things do go awry every now and then, and we need to be quicker to acknowledge mistakes or misunderstandings, apologise if necessary, remedy and get things on track. We will continue to learn from experience, from our measures and feedback, and particularly from putting ourselves in the shoes of taxpayers. We will build on our achievements, learn from successes and mistakes, and direct our resources to what matters most.

    We remain open and receptive to feedback and scrutiny and use those sources of intelligence to help us make improvements in the right places. We have invited the ANAO to review our management of small business end-to-end debt processes with the report due in May 2019. Of scrutineer reviews in recent years, we have adopted the majority of recommendations, none of which found systemic abuse of small business. While important, we note these reviews are only one small component of how the ATO makes decisions to improve the administration of the system. The vast majority of improvements are made as the result of our business-as-usual processes and collaboration with the community generally and through industry bodies.

    We have recently launched our new Corporate plan – Towards 2024 – which retains our purpose and vision and describes our intent and focus for the next six years. In particular, our aspirations to 2024 are to:

    • build trust and confidence in the tax and superannuation systems
    • be an integrated, streamlined and data driven organisation.

    These two aspirations are consistent with the areas identified for improvement in our self-assessment report, particularly as they relate to community perceptions of the ATO. Therefore, they will be our two focal points when assessing improved outcomes in our 2018–19 self-assessment report.

      Last modified: 08 Feb 2019QC 57845