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  • Appendix – metric results and analysis

    Outcome-based metrics

    The following table shows the metrics we use to assess our performance and their alignment across the measures for each KPI.

    Metric

    Description

    Measure

    1

    Number of complaints received

    1.2

    2

    Adjusted median cost to individual taxpayers of managing their tax affairs

    1.3

    3

    Reduction in the administrative cost to businesses and government in dealing with each other

    1.3

    4

    Proportion of inbound transactions received digitally for key services

    1.2

    5

    Key digital systems availability

    1.2

    6

    Service commitment – 85% of complaints received are resolved in 15 business days, or within the date negotiated with the client

    2.2

    7

    Service commitment – 80% of private rulings are finalised in
    28 calendar days of receiving all necessary information

    2.2

    8

    Elapsed time in days for private rulings

    2.1, 2.2

    9

    Average cycle times for objections

    2.2

    10

    Cost to collect $100

    3.1

    11

    Total revenue effects – Tax revenue from all compliance activities

    3.1, 3.2, 3.3

    12

    Increased use of the ABR as the national business dataset

    4.3

    13

    Proportion of ABN applicants obtaining a decision online at the point of application

    4.2

    14

    Tax returns – Proportion of items that are pre-filled

    4.2, 4.3

    15

    Communication of our decision to consult on matters submitted

    6.1

    Results – outcome-based metrics

    Outcome metric 1

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Number of complaints received

    20,241

    19,826

    24,778

    The ATO continues to focus on improving client interactions. As with experiences around the world, 2019–20 was a unique year for the ATO. In particular, the implementation of the COVID-19 stimulus measures and the low and middle income tax offset saw an increase in community interest and interactions. That trend was also seen in complaints, with 24,778 received for the year (inclusive of those from the IGTO).

    Although the year brought challenges, the flexibility of the ATO’s front-line resources enabled us to adjust our efforts and redirect resources where needed. This saw a complaint finalisation result of 83% resolved in 15 business days or within the date negotiated, slightly below our target of 85%.

    The number of complaints continues to be only a small proportion of our interactions, representing 0.1% of total tax returns lodged.

    Outcome metric 2

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Adjusted median cost to individual taxpayers of managing their tax affairs

    (2019–20 performance target: Remain steady)

    Unchanged(1)
    on prior year
    result

    (2016–17
    returns)

    Unchanged(1)
    on prior year
    result

    (2017–18 returns)

    2.5% decrease

    (2018–19
    returns)

    Note 1: The unchanged results for 2017–18 and 2018–19 reflect a change of 0.2% or less in the adjusted median from the previous year.

    This measure shows movement in the cost to individual taxpayers of managing their tax affairs.

    The adjusted(2) median cost of managing tax affairs for 2018–19(3) income tax returns was relatively lower compared to the previous year (a marginal decrease of 2.5%) and the performance target is considered to be fully met. Taxpayers who did not report an amount at the relevant label on the tax return are not captured in this calculation; however, over recent years a slight declining trend has emerged in the ratio of taxpayers claiming cost of managing tax affairs to the total individual taxpayer lodging population.

    The cost of managing tax affairs includes the costs of preparing and lodging tax returns and activity statements, fees paid to tax advisers, and the costs of tax reference material. While external market forces can influence these, our strategies for making it easier to comply, through the provision of better guidance and advice and contemporary and digital services, also influence this trend.

    Note 2: AWOTE – average weekly ordinary time earnings (for full-time adults) is used to adjust these costs.


    Note 3: The 2017–18 and 2018–19 income tax return split the relevant label into three components: interest charged by the ATO, litigation costs, and other expenses incurred in managing tax affairs.
    Outcome metric 3

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Reduction in the administrative cost to businesses and government in dealing with each other

    (2019–20 performance target: $1.95 billion)

    $1.58 billion

    $1.55 billion

    $1.95 billion

    In 2019–20, the administrative cost reduced by $1.95 billion, an improvement of $400 million compared to the previous year, which met the performance target.

    This increase can be attributed to an increased uptake of SBR services, particularly Single Touch Payroll and superannuation reporting.

    The result indicates that ABR program initiatives continue to deliver savings to business and government through reducing the reporting burden, minimising cost to business and enhancing business interactions through natural-based systems.

    Outcome metric 4

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Proportion of inbound transactions received digitally for key services

    (2019–20 performance target: 90%)

    88%(4)

    89%

    91%

    Note 4: Result was published in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report but not in the ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report.

    In 2019–20, our methodology for measuring the proportion of inbound transactions received digitally was broadened to incorporate updates to the Client Register, including information on:

    • address – business, postal and residential
    • email
    • phone number – after-hours, business hours and mobile.

    An overall result of 91% was achieved, which exceeds the target and represents a two-percentage-point increase compared with the previous year.

    The introduction of a new taxable payments annual report (TPAR) online form in June 2019 contributed to an increase of 28 percentage points in digital lodgments of the TPAR.

    Online services for agents has increased the ability for agents to engage digitally using the ATO Online platform. This has resulted in a 20-percentage-point increase in digital payment arrangements.

    Digital lodgments of activity statements increased by three percentage points compared to the previous year. This is partly due to online registrations for activity statement obligations now defaulting the client’s lodgment preferences to digital rather than paper. Single Touch Payroll and increasing registrations for myGov have also played a part in the increase in digital lodgments.

    Outcome metric 5

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Key digital systems availability

    (2019–20 performance target: 99.5% excluding planned outages)

    99.4%(5)

    99.5%

    99.7%

    Note 5: Result was published in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report but not in the ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report.

    Measuring availability of our digital systems ensures that we understand the reliability of services for clients interacting digitally. In 2019–20, the overall result was 99.7%, a 0.2 percentage point increase from the previous year, and exceeding the target.

    The methodology for this measure comprises the availability of seven externally facing and two internally facing key IT systems. Availability is the comparison between the planned availability with the actual availability of a system for users.

    For externally facing systems used by our clients and partners (community, tax and super professionals, and software developers), the average availability was 99.6% and for internally facing systems used by staff, the average availability was 100.0% (99.99% when rounded to two decimal places).

    Outcome metric 6

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Service commitment – 85% of complaints received are resolved in 15 business days, or within the date negotiated with the client

    90%

    88%

    83%

    Although there was a significant increase in the number of complaints received (over 24,700 compared with around 19,200 in 2018–19), the flexibility of the ATO’s front-line resources enabled us to adjust our efforts and redirect resources where needed. This saw a complaint finalisation result of 83% resolved in 15 business days or within the date negotiated, just slightly below our target of 85%.

    Outcome metric 7

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Service commitment – 80% of private rulings are finalised in 28 calendar days of receiving all necessary information

    88%

    88%

    88%

    88% of private rulings were finalised in 28 calendar days of receiving all necessary information, exceeding the 80% target, and remaining stable compared with previous years’ results.

    This demonstrates that the ATO continues to provide taxpayers with timely assistance and certainty on complex matters to enable them to meet their obligations.

    Outcome metric 8 - Average days

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Elapsed time in days for private rulings

    62

    76

    92

    Outcome metric 8 - Median days

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Elapsed time in days for private rulings

    39

    52

    64

    There was an increase in both the average and median number of elapsed days to finalise a private ruling compared to 2018–19. In 2019–20 a combination of factors has placed upward pressure on the time taken to provide private rulings, including:

    • the increasingly complex nature of private ruling applications and sourcing all required information from the client in order to finalise the request
    • clients facing multiple external pressures such as natural disasters (bushfires) and supporting their business in a COVID environment
    • Interpretative assistance resources responding to priority advice areas such as natural disasters (bushfires), the changing COVID-19 environment and government stimulus measures.
    Outcome metric 9

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Average cycle times for objections

    (no 2019–20 performance target)

    65 days

    76 days

    101 days

    The average cycle time for objections increased in 2019–20. A number of factors contributed to this, including historical high levels of stock-on-hand as a consequence of high receipts in earlier years, changes to our operating model to prioritise high priority cases (including aged cases) and the resolution throughout the year of a large number of objections that had been held awaiting the outcome of litigation.

    Outcome metric 10

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18(6)

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Cost to collect $100

    (2019–20 performance target: consistent with trend)

    $0.74 (incl GST)

    $0.67 (excl GST)

    $0.71 (incl GST)

    $0.64 (excl GST)

    $0.66 (incl GST)

    $0.62 (excl GST)

    Note 6: In the ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment reports for 2017–18, results for this metric were expressed as ‘gross’ and ‘net’ cost to collect, rather than inclusive or exclusive of GST and its administration costs.

    The cost of collection measures the cost of collecting every $100 of cash collections.

    The cost to collect $100 decreased from $0.64 in 2018–19 to $0.62 in 2019–20, excluding GST and its administration costs. The decrease reflects a 9% decrease in costs associated with collecting tax offset by a 5% decrease in collections in 2019–20.

    Decreased revenue resulted from economic factors relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The significant decrease in costs was as a result of the ATO’s response to several natural disasters (bushfires, floods and drought) by re-prioritising planned work and reducing certain activities, such as debt and legal work. The ATO supported the community by deferring lodgments, enabling faster refunds, deferring recovery action for debt and remitting interest and penalties. This was followed by significant staff redeployments to support the COVID-19 government stimulus measures in the last quarter of 2019–20.

    Outcome metric 11

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Total revenue effects (tax revenue from all compliance activities

    (2019–20 performance target: $15 billion)

    $16 billion(7)

    $15.3 billion

    $13.7 billion

    Note 7: Result was published in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report but not in the ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report.

    The total revenue effects measure is an estimate of the additional tax revenue that comes from our client engagement activities and is a combination of audit yield and wider revenue effects.

    In 2019–20 the total revenue effects were $13.7 billion against our target of $15 billion. Our results for the first six months to December 2019 indicated we were likely to exceed our target for the year. However, changes to our approaches to assist taxpayers impacted by natural disasters and then COVID-19 meant that we were only just above plan by the end of March 2020. In the final quarter, COVID-19 led to the ATO implementing changes to our approach in order to support the community including:

    • bintroducing deferrals for impacted clients and pausing our firmer action work, except for high risk clients, and stopping all outbound campaigns relating to debt and lodgment
    • redeployment of our client engagement staff to support delivery of the government’s stimulus measures
    • pausing and slowing down of interventions and other compliance-related activities other than those initiated by the client.

    These factors, combined with reduced capacity for many Australians and their businesses to pay compliance liabilities raised before the onset of COVID-19, led to a significantly lower than planned quarter four, resulting in the ATO not achieving the $15 billion target by the end of the year.

    Outcome metric 12

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Increased use of the ABR as the national business dataset:

    • government agencies

     

     

     

     

    • community

     

     

     (2019–20 performance target:
    Agencies – 370 using ABR Explorer, 14 using ABR Connect

    Community - 1.3 billion ABN Lookups)

     

     

     312 agencies using ABR Explorer (34% increase)

    11 agencies using ABR Connect

     

     1.031 billion ABN Lookup searches (32.5% increase)

     

     

    368 agencies using ABR Explorer (18% increase)

    17 agencies using ABR Connect

     

     1.445 billion ABN Lookup searches (40% increase)

     

     

    405 agencies using ABR Explorer (10% increase)

    27 agencies using ABR Connect (58% increase)

     

    1.519 billion ABN Lookup searches (5% increase)

    In 2019–20, the number of agencies using ABR Explorer increased by 10% to a peak of 405, while the number using ABR Connect web services increased by 58% to 27, both exceeding their target.

    However, the number of agencies using ABR Explorer decreased to 233 by the end of June 2020, due to the replacement of AUSkey in March 2020 by myGovID as the access service to ABR Explorer. We are working with those agencies that have not yet transitioned to myGovID to re-establish their access to ABR Explorer so they can continue to access ABR data.

    We are continuing to develop products that promote self-service, including education materials that facilitate interactions with ABR Explorer. System enhancements have improved the quality of data queries available for use by agencies. The ABR Connect web service reduces costs for government agencies by reducing the need for multiple databases.

    There were more than 1.5 billion searches using ABN Lookup, a 5% increase from the previous year and exceeding the target.

    Outcome metric 13

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Proportion of ABN applicants obtaining a decision online at the point of application

    (2019–20 performance target: 80%)

    94.6%

    96.5%

    96.0%

    The proportion of ABN applicants obtaining a decision online at the point of application recorded 96% for 2019–20, slightly down from 96.5% in 2018–19, which exceeded our target of 80% by 16 percentage points.

    This measure continues to demonstrate the improvements in the process used by businesses in applying for an ABN, in particular a reduction in delays and the associated reduction in lost income arising from those delays.

    There is a cost to both businesses and government as a result of delays in issuing ABNs:

    • Businesses can experience a loss of income, delays in being able to invoice clients for work done and loss of accessing business discounts.
    • Government impacts can include lost taxation revenue and additional welfare payments while clients are waiting for their ABN to commence their business.

    Changes to the ABN application process were implemented in March 2019. These changes were designed to assist applicants to understand their entitlement to an ABN and their obligations. This helps deter those applicants who are not entitled and reduces reverse workflow in cancelling these at a later point if they were not entitled to an ABN. These changes have increased the accuracy of data on the register, resulting in savings for businesses and government agencies using this data. These changes did not materially impact applicants obtaining a decision online at the point of application as ineligible applicants are refused on-the-spot.

    Outcome metric 14

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Tax returns - Proportion of items that are pre-filled

    (2019–20 performance target: 85%)

    87.5%(8)

    87.9%

    87.1%

    Note 8: Result was published in the Commissioner of Taxation Annual Report but not in the ATO Regulator Performance Framework self-assessment report.

    The 2019–20 result of 87.1% is slightly below the previous year but exceeds the target, reflecting the continued quality and timeliness of our pre-filling program to support our clients and tax agents to lodge tax returns and meet their obligations. The decrease is the result of receiving data from some third-party reporters later than the previous year due to them undertaking additional quality assurance processes on their data prior to providing it to us.

    The measure is solely focused on individuals who are not in business. It reflects the proportion of their total income where our pre-filling exactly matched their final income tax result. A dollar-based systems-assurance approach is used, where pre-filling makes it easier for our clients to meet their obligations and increases trust and confidence in the accuracy of final tax outcomes.

    To allow for appropriate checking of pre-fill results against the final income tax return, the methodology for this measure applies a time lag and reflects Tax Time 2018 results. This is to allow sufficient time for lodgment program periods to be completed and results to be assured by the ATO.

    Outcome metric 15

    Metric

    Result

    2017–18

    2018–19

    2019–20

    Communication of our decision to consult on matters submitted (within 20 days)

    0

    (0% of 2 received)

    1

    (100% of 1 received)

    2

    (66% of 3 received)

    In 2019–20 there were three matters received that were considered potential consultation matters. None of the matters proceeded to consultation.

      Last modified: 05 Feb 2021QC 64650