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  • KPI 2 performance summary

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    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.

    7, A3–A7


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

    6 – 9, S3


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


    Self-assessment rating: Satisfactory

    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 three of the 11 metrics for this KPI, with one broadly stable, two showing a decline, and five based on activities.

    Our performance exceeded the target for one of our two service commitments. However, the percentage of complaints resolved in 15 days fell marginally short of the target. Our performance with respect to average completion times for both private rulings and objections declined. Significant work continues to match resourcing to demand, along with streamlining of systems and processes.

    Activity-based examples

    To improve the end‑to‑end client experience, we are implementing a multi-year, ATO-wide program. This is transforming our approach to deliver an integrated experience for clients, recognising that a single person may be interacting with us in various roles. We call the series of interactions a client has with us ‘the pipeline’. There are a number of ‘pipes’ taxpayers may move through as they deal with us around particular matters. We are committed to understanding the end-to-end experience they have with us – from lodgment, to disputes and debt management, to their lodgment again next year.

    As a starting point, we conducted a pilot to examine the experience for certain groups of taxpayers who don’t meet their lodgment obligations. Working closely with the tax and BAS agent community, we also applied the pipeline methodology to the new Cash Flow Boost stimulus measure, to ensure the process was as efficient and effective as possible.

    Complementing our pipeline reviews, is an increased focus on actions that can have the highest client impact to the unintended detriment of the client. By improving our understanding of the potential impact of these interactions, we can design the right safeguards to deliver services better cognisant of the client’s circumstances. In these interactions, our staff consider not only the power they can apply, but whether they should apply it in a particular situation in preference to alternatives available to resolve the issue. This initiative also allows us to identify opportunities for systemic improvements earlier in the pipeline, which will reduce the need for high client impact actions.

    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.

    The ATO tailors its approach to providing public advice and guidance, using various avenues including web-based guidance, fact sheets, rulings and more detailed explanations users can access depending on their needs. This flexible approach is of value in times of crises – such as the recent natural disasters and COVID-19, where we worked with our clients to provide timely yet accurate web guidance, followed by consultation on more formal products for issues that were highly technical.

    We received positive feedback on our responsiveness to delivery of public advice and guidance during COVID-19. As part of the COVID-19 response, our suite of public advice offerings on the ATO website played a key role in providing timely and targeted practical advice. The extensive use of during 2020 demonstrates the critical need this served during the pandemic.

    We continue to seek feedback on content throughout the development of public advice and guidance products, including through targeted consultation groups, to ensure our advice and guidance meets community needs.

    By improving the digital channel experience, we can also improve the way we provide information to clients. Our goal is to optimise the channels to achieve the best outcome for clients, reducing the scope for error and the administration effort required of them and us. We continued our five-year program to digitise more of our outbound communications and significantly reduce reliance on non-preferred channels.

    It is becoming increasingly possible for individuals and businesses to meet tax and superannuation obligations as part of their day-to-day activity. We are enhancing the digital ecosystem, by integrating more digital services into existing systems, including payroll systems, accounting software, practice management software and superannuation funds. We have seen the benefits of the integrated and streamlined ecosystem through Single Touch Payroll.

      Last modified: 05 Feb 2021QC 64650