Show download pdf controls
  • 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, initially established in 2015 and updated in 2018, are a mix of 35 metrics.

    In comparison with the self-assessment reports for 2017–18 or prior years, the 2018–19 self-assessment report incorporates significant changes to the suite of metrics, to focus on the most powerful measures of performance.

    Of the 43 metrics used in the self-assessment report for 2017–18 (and also reports for the previous years - 2016–17 and 2015-16):

    • 12 have been retained as true performance metrics for 2018–19 and later years
    • a further 10 metrics continue to be reported as activities
    • 21 metrics have been removed, as they were not sufficiently powerful measures of either our performance or our activities.

    In addition, 13 new metrics have been included for 2018–19, which were not available when the existing suite was established in 2015; resulting in a total of 35 metrics.

    As was also the case in 2017–18, metric results are included in the report appendix, with a simplified presentation to make the report as easy to read and assess as possible.

    • all 15 outcome-based metrics – our true measures of performance – incorporate results and individual analysis
    • all 9 survey-based metrics are presented in one table, with analysis focused on systemic trends across the suite of questions
    • all 11 activity-based metrics are presented in one table - these metrics cannot tell us how effective we have been, that is, an increase in activities does not necessarily signify improved performance.

    Of these metrics, a significant proportion are also reported in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2018–19, with eleven 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. A further two metrics are ongoing ATO service commitments.

    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 those who have recently interacted with us to understand and improve the client experience, as well as to understand their views of the overall tax system and sentiment regarding the ATO. Where surveys require direct interaction with the community – for example, via a phone or online survey – the interaction is undertaken by an external provider, in order to ensure the independence and integrity of results.

    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:

    • Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report 2018–19.
      Last modified: 27 Feb 2020QC 61545