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  • GST administration annual performance report 2018–19


    It is my pleasure to present the 2018–19 GST administration annual performance report on behalf of the Commissioner of Taxation.

    In 2018–19, the ATO identified two goals as the first steps in achieving our strategic objectives through to 2024. These were to build trust and confidence in the tax and superannuation systems, and to create a streamlined, integrated and data-driven future.

    These goals were at the centre of our performance and success in GST administration in 2018–19.

    A significant part of our role is to ensure we deliver an integrated client experience that creates an environment for increased willing participation in the tax system. This means integrating GST with other tax and superannuation products. We recognise that from a taxpayer perspective there may not be a distinction between GST and other taxation obligations.

    We conducted a review of how we manage and administer the tax and superannuation systems from a taxpayer perspective. The resulting realignment ensures functions are aligned to our key markets. We also created the GST Centre, in recognition of the specific responsibilities and stewardship of the ATO in administering GST.

    We also secured funding for the GST compliance program, extended for a further four years through to 2022–23. Future focus of the program will expand to include contemporising ATO risk modelling, targeting business activity statement lodgment rates, and proactively engaging large businesses on their GST obligations.

    The ATO delivered across a range of GST areas during 2018–19:

    • GST registrations increased 5% from the previous year to 2.84 million clients, reflecting growth from measures such as GST on low value imported goods.
    • GST cash collections increased 3.2% from 2017–18 to $65.2 billion. This included Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) net GST collections, which increased 7.1% from 2017–18 to $4.2 billion.
    • Direct compliance activities resulted in GST liabilities of $3.2 billion being raised, with an additional $91.5 million from compliance activities undertaken by Home Affairs.
    • Since 2013–14, the growth in GST collectable debt (19.3%) has been significantly lower than the growth in GST revenue (27.5%), indicating our debt management approach is effective.
    • We continued to target the GST gap through early engagement and strategies that inform our approach to risk management across GST.
    • We completed a highly visible coordinated strike on tax agents suspected of facilitating phoenix activities and tax avoidance (including GST).
    • We implemented a range of cross-border measures, including GST collection on imported services and digital products and low value imported goods. Our approach to the latter is recognised as an exemplar for other tax jurisdictions.
    • The ATO co-hosted the 5th Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on value added tax (VAT) and GST.
    • Implemented the collection of GST on the sale of new property and land subdivision at settlement.
    • Removed GST on feminine hygiene products.

    As we move into 2019–20 we will continue to focus on prevention before correction. We will look for opportunities to use technologies to improve compliance, and reduce the cost of tax administration for taxpayers and the ATO. Our key areas of focus include:

    • contemporising ATO risk modelling, to take advantage of advanced analytics along with new and non-traditional data sets
    • increasing investment on early engagement with entities that do not lodge, to improve compliance
    • shifting to a proactive compliance approach for large business, a group that represents around 65% of net GST collections
    • developing a strong and effective GST Centre, to help the broader ATO assure the administration of GST.

    In 2019–20, the ATO will continue to manage a number of known and emerging issues around precious metals, online travel companies, property, phoenix activity and the black economy.

    Finally, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Deputy Commissioner Tim Dyce in his stewardship role in administering GST and his continued support post our realignment in March 2019.

    Our success in the administration of GST relies on productive and positive relationships with the states and territories, and I thank those representatives across the GST Administration Subcommittee and the GST Policy and Administration Subgroup for their support and input throughout the year.

    Deborah Jenkins

    Deputy Commissioner, Small Business

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    Figure 1: GST snapshot

    This graph shows an overall picture of GST in 2018–19.  Revenue results $65.2b, GST registrants 2.8m, activity statements lodged 87.7%, activity statements lodged on time 76%, BAS lodged electronically 83.8%, GST voluntary compliance program $1.7b, compliance results $3.2b, GST debt $5.7b, GST collectable debt $4.3b, GST tax gap $5.0b or 7.3%, schedule B estimate administration costs $600m, cost as a percentage of revenue 0.9%, cost per registrant $211, successful court outcomes 27, objections to new litigation 108 per 1,000, objection cases created 643.

      Last modified: 01 Jul 2020QC 61031