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  • KPI 2 performance summary

    Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective

    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.





    Provide guidance and information that is up to date, clear, accessible and concise through media appropriate to the target audience.

    18, S6–S8, A3–A7


    Provide decisions and advice in a timely manner, clearly articulating expectations and the underlying reasons for decisions.

    9–14, S6, S7, S9


    Provide advice that is consistent and supports, where appropriate, predictable outcomes.


    Self-assessment rating: Good

    This assessment is based on the results of the metrics relating to each measure and the examples of how we have maintained clear, targeted and effective communication with regulated entities.

    Summary of metric results

    Performance either improved or met target for six of the 16 metrics for this KPI with three remaining relatively stable, two showing a decline and five based on activities.

    Our performance improved with respect to a number of our service commitments, all of which exceeded their relevant targets. Community perceptions of our ability to provide advice that can be relied on also improved. However, community perceptions of satisfaction and ease declined, primarily driven by users of our online systems. We are currently undertaking considerable work on a new tax agent portal and will continue to work hard to improve the online experience for tax professionals, business users and individuals.

    Activity-based examples

    Measuring availability of our digital systems ensures that we understand the reliability of services for clients interacting digitally. We have been monitoring the availability of our digital systems and services since November 2017. Over the period of measurement, our systems have been highly available to the community, ranging from 98.68% to 99.67%. We are investing in improvements that continue to increase the resilience and availability of ATO digital services, so that critical services are secure, highly available and scaled appropriately for the expected increase in transaction volumes.

    Our service and channel management strategy is focused on improving client interactions and supplements our long-term planning. It guides the way our services and interactions are delivered to provide clients with a well-designed, tailored, fair and transparent experience. While the strategy has a long-term focus, a number of improvements for key client interactions were delivered prior to Tax Time 2018, including:

    • significant online improvements to provide tax practitioners with increased visibility of their clients’ accounts and status and the ability to access payment plans
    • piloting a new process to support clients to go digital when receiving their first activity statement, after registering a new role over the phone
    • expanding the client population who are eligible for a ‘push’ income tax assessment in Tax Time 2018, making it easier for clients with basic and stable affairs
    • reducing the volume of statements of accounts issued by paper.

    A key component of the strategy is the ATO service model, which has been designed around the key theme ‘every interaction matters’. Work on the model will continue in 2018–19, with a focus on improving our clients’ experience of the various channels they use to interact with us. The strategy will see us direct our investment and effort into preferred channels, so that the client experience in those preferred channels is optimised.

    We continue to develop services for tax agents, including guidance and education on specific areas of concern (including work-related expenses) and providing assistance to correct errors we have identified. The ATO’s occupation guides and fact sheets on work-related expenses have been well received by tax agents and industry groups.

    The ATO has a number of initiatives designed to assist clients with their tax affairs. We provide public advice and guidance to help taxpayers understand their rights and obligations in a range of situations.

    We are continuously striving to make our advice meaningful, timely and consistent, using data sources to identify emerging issues, and to prioritise and tailor our products. This year, we increased community participation and consultation in the development process and made it easier for the public to provide feedback on our products.

    The ATO aims to provide pre-emptive advice to inform people about issues before they emerge. We continue to publish law companion rulings with specific and early guidance on significant new law, which this year included measures relating to housing affordability and GST on low value imported goods. The ATO uses Taxpayer Alerts to share our concerns with the community and to indicate at an early stage when we think an arrangement may not comply with the law.

    To make our advice easier to understand, we have adopted new formats for our publications – such as our series of infographic posters on work-related expenses for specific occupations, in preparation for tax time. A survey of clients and tax professionals found the majority agreed that our guidance made it easy for them to understand their tax obligations, with two out of three clients agreeing they were able to find the guidance they needed.

    We are using data sources to identify emerging issues and to prioritise and tailor our products. For example, intelligence, patterns and trends from our work with public and multinational clients are being captured and used to develop guidance products for this group.

    During the year, we provided more tailored support to our various client groups to facilitate and encourage voluntary compliance, and make the taxpayer experience helpful and ‘light-touch’.

    We understand the important role small businesses play in the economy and continue to put in place measures to support them. In 2017–18, we delivered concise tax and superannuation updates to over 2.3 million Small Business Newsroom subscribers. Our New to business essentials email service reached over 419,000 new small businesses, setting them up with the right information from the start. And through our ‘cash-only visits’ program, we supported nearly 5,000 businesses in meeting their tax obligations.

    Almost 3,500 small business requests for private rulings or guidance were actioned during the year, on issues such as small business concessions, non-commercial losses and personal services income. We also provided guidance on ride-sourcing, accommodation sharing, and the sharing economy more generally.

    Other activities designed to help small businesses meet their tax and superannuation obligations included visits to regional communities, webinars, after-hours assistance via web chat or call-backs, and a range of self-help and public information videos.

    In supporting public and multinational businesses, we improved compliance through close collaboration, including through key tax advisory firms. We worked with our larger clients, applying the justified trust methodology to assure they are paying the right amount. Our integrated Tax risk management and governance review guide was updated in January 2018 to help our clients develop a whole-of-tax governance framework and evaluate their strategic and operational risks. We continue to publish timely advice and guidance on important tax matters, and provide earlier certainty on complex issues by issuing more private rulings.

    Our assistance specifically for not-for-profit organisations included providing up-to-date, tailored information on our website, and our not-for-profit news service. We also established a dedicated phone service for not-for-profit organisations.

      Last modified: 08 Feb 2019QC 57845