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  • Key performance results 2016–17

    Registration and processing


    • 2.7 million active GST registrants
    • 10.3 million original BAS processed
    • 14.1 million BAS-related payments received, with a value of $260.1 billion
    • 1.7 million activity statement refunds issued, with a total value of $51.7 billion.

    The population of active GST accounts continues to follow a similar trend to last year.

    The number of activity statements issued in 2016–17 was down compared to last year. However, last year’s figure was inflated due to a system issue requiring an additional generation of activity statements in December 2016.



    • $1.2 billion in GST liabilities raised from lodgment compliance activities, a decrease of $0.28 billion on last year
    • 93.2% of monthly BAS lodged, 83.5% on time
    • 85.3% of quarterly BAS lodged, 73.5% on time.

    There was a slight decline in lodgment of monthly BAS this year, as well as a decline in on-time and overall lodgment of quarterly BAS. Natural disasters and system issues over the last six months of the financial year may have contributed to the decline in end-of-year performance from 2015–16 to 2016–17. Notwithstanding this, the decline in overall lodgment of activity statements suggests a change in client behaviour – choosing not to lodge rather than lodging late.

    During 2016–17, we increased our focus on GST compliance. We continually analyse lodgment data, taxpayer behaviour and business registration information to determine what changes may be required to our strategies to address late and outstanding lodgment obligations.



    • $3.8 billion in GST collectable debt as at 30 June 2017, an increase of 13.5% on 30 June 2016
    • ratio of GST collectable debt to GST revenue was 6.4%, up from 5.9% at 30 June 2016
    • from 1 July, property developers will be required to remit GST directly as part of property settlements
    • director identification numbers will make directors personally liable for GST liabilities.

    A range of factors contributed to the increase in collectable debt.

    Our long-term approach to delivering an improved payment experience, focusing on willing participation includes a range of strategies already well under way (see Analysis for GST Debt).

    Advice and guidance


    • 748 GST-related private ruling requests finalised, 91% within 28 calendar days of receiving the necessary information
    • 4,669 guidance requests completed, continuing to exceed our service commitments to the community in providing timely service, as well as keeping taxpayers informed of the progress of their private rulings.
    • GST technical advice (guidance) and private rulings finalisations have exceeded the timeliness benchmarks.

    We have worked to provide clients with an ATO view on the application of the GST law on issues such as ride-sourcing, and communicated to the industry the impact of the favourable Federal Court decision, through various channels.

    We engaged with the community to explain the application of GST to imports of low value goods and inbound digital services and products, highlighting the impact on process and procedures that affect cross-border business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

    How we are making it easier


    • educational programs to help new businesses with their tax obligations including emails, workshops and webinars
    • showcasing our digital products and services to over 23,000 small businesses
    • introducing Simpler BAS to businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million
    • improved communication channels through new web content and SMS.


    In 2016–17, we received 859 objections (25% fewer than last year) and completed 934.

    We continue to receive objections from the Precious Metals project against the substantive audit adjustments and decisions to retain refunds; a number are also progressing to litigation.

    Overall, the number of objections received continues to trend downwards, yet the cases received tend to be genuine disputes on substantive issues that take longer to resolve.

    Client perceptions of fairness continue to show good results in line with our corporate objectives. These perceptions are measured via quarterly surveys of a sample of cases across all markets.



    • 53 new matters received and 61 cases completed
    • 13 GST-related decisions delivered, all favourable to the ATO.

    Current GST-related litigation case numbers remain at a relatively low level. It is anticipated that the litigation caseload will remain at similar levels into 2017–18.

    At 30 June 2017, around 21% of GST litigation cases involved property-related issues, which is 5% higher than the previous year. Around 50% of cases dealt with largely non-technical issues where taxable supplies had been understated or input tax credits over-claimed.


    GST cash outcome is $59.8 billion (including net Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) collections), an increase of $2.5 billion.

    GST gap


    • $4.5 billion estimated GST gap (including debt) for 2015–16.


    The 2016–17 reporting period relates to gap estimates in the 2015–16 tax year.

    Voluntary compliance ratio

    The voluntary compliance ratio (VCR) measures the number of taxpayers who completely meet all their obligations for the financial year and the amount of GST, by value, that is voluntarily provided to us in accordance with the law.

    The ratio for taxpayers who have only had one late lodgment and/or payment is 83% and the amount of revenue received voluntarily has progressively improved over time. In 2015–16, it was equivalent to 83% of theoretical GST revenue.



    • 82 GST-related fraud investigations completed with 63 successful outcomes
    • 25 briefs of evidence for GST-related breaches referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP) or to our internal prosecutions area
    • 15 GST-related fraud matters successfully prosecuted by the CDPP
    • a further 1,095 matters prosecuted for GST-related administration offences.

    The matters referred to the CDPP cover a range of GST risks, including refund integrity issues such as lodgment of suspected fraudulent BAS, precious metals, disengaged property developers, serious evasion, and phoenix.

    Department of Immigration and Border Protection


    • $3.5 billion collected in net GST and $25.6 billion in deferred GST on imported goods
    • 4.1 million import and 1.35 million export declarations cleared
    • 45.2 million import lines processed, with an import value of $273.8 billion
    • 6.6 million export lines processed, with an export value of $299.0 billion
    • 895,317 claims administered under the Tourist Refund Scheme.



    • preliminary GST administration expenditure result of $682.4 million.

    ATO expenditure is tracking above the Schedule B estimate. Costs have increased in the design and build of administrative solutions but decreased in active compliance costs. This is attributable to our continued investment in technology and digital services.

    The ATO is focused on efficiency, including improving workforce performance and professionalism. Across the ATO, staff took on average 1.43 fewer unplanned leave days this year compared to 2015–16.

      Last modified: 30 Jan 2018QC 54336