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  • Consultation and co-design

    What people told us they need in the future


    Fix the basics:

    • remove irritants with the things I use frequently, for example make information on easier to find and understand
    • minimise red tape
    • help me to be aware of my entitlements and obligations.

    Foster confidence and trust:

    • give me certainty of my tax and super position, in a timely way. Let me know quickly when you notice something isn't right and help me to resolve it
    • deal with people who are not complying or who are abusing the tax or super systems.

    Tailor my interactions:

    • provide interactions which are easy to access, secure, timely and available at a time that suits me, and are professional and respectful
    • work with other government agencies and intermediaries to improve my whole-of-system experience
    • keep pace with technology trends making services contemporary and easy for me to get things right.

    Help me navigate complexity:

    • provide information and services which are tailored to my behaviour and situation, and are easy to find and understand. This will help me to get things right and avoid mistakes
    • foster excellent working relationships through early engagement
    • provide the right advice at the right time
    • show me what I need to do, particularly when my normal practices have to change.


    Fix the basics:

    • remove irritants from the tools I rely on
    • minimise red tape, including empowering me to make decisions and be accountable
    • raise my awareness of how I can enact change by giving me practical examples that I can build on and easily use.

    Valued and supported:

    • respect me for my experience and skills, and trust me to use them
    • listen to my suggestions and feedback
    • give me strong, consistent leaders who support my development, provide clear expectations and guidance and who deal with underperformance.

    Effective tools and processes:

    • show me what I need to do, particularly when my normal practices have to change
    • give me access to technology and law that enables me to get the job done
    • communicate in a way that is consistent, timely, tailored, and honest, so I understand the practical implications for me and my work.

    Insights on the current experience from clients and staff


    • I can’t find what I am looking for on the ATO’s website.
    • myTax was simple, easy to use, and fast. I really liked the interface.
    • I expect the ATO to keep pace with technology trends, such as services the banks offer.
    • I expect online services to be secure and easy to use.
    • If I could do everything online I would because it’s quicker than queuing on the phone.
    • Digital by default but not digital only.
    • I don’t know what help is available to me. I often don’t understand information from the ATO as it is too full of tax jargon.
    • I’m frustrated by the idea that not everyone is paying the right amount of tax.
    • I use a tax agent because I don’t trust that the ATO will help me to get things right.
    • I’m afraid to approach the ATO.
    • I’m not interested in superannuation until close to retirement.

    Small business

    • I don’t know what I don’t know. The ATO needs to help me find the information I need or let me know if something is relevant to me.
    • I want quick, easy and timely advice.
    • I am time poor. Show me what I need to do.
    • Information from the ATO is too technical and jargon filled.
    • I like online services, but I don’t have time to spend working on my tax affairs as well as running my business. I need a response now.
    • I use an agent because they know my business and I believe they will take on the risk of a mistake being made.
    • I want to contact the ATO how and when I want to.
    • I don’t trust that the ATO will help me to get things right.
    • I’m afraid to approach the ATO.
    • I like being able to self-help for answers, but only if it is quick, easy and gives me certainty.

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    • I need different types of advice and guidance that suit my circumstances.
    • I need more certainty and timely advice.
    • I want to know what the ATO knows so that I have the opportunity to self-correct and provide information.
    • I want to see better use of technology to get quicker outcomes and reduce my compliance costs.
    • Time is money and the cost of compliance is a key driver for me.

    Publicly listed business

    • We need certainty and timely advice.
    • We want access to a senior executive in the ATO when issues need escalating.
    • We can see that the ATO is listening to the main issues of Australia’s largest taxpayers and have recognised where they need to improve.
    • We are seeing a positive shift when engaging with ATO staff. Mostly, we are seeing that staff are more open to reaching common ground faster than they have in the past. You just need to do it consistently.
    • The challenges the ATO is facing around increasing client expectations, technology and data are similar to most organisations

    Intermediaries – tax agents

    • I like the reinventing concepts, especially the potential benefits of going digital.
    • I want to be able to speak to an experienced officer for complex issues.
    • I want specialised information sent to me electronically.
    • I don’t have as much face-to-face contact with clients these days. They want online interactions, less face-to-face, and they just want it done.
    • Many people consult with me due to a fear of getting something wrong.
    • I am seeing a growing client demand to provide more cost-effective services. Clients want to pay professionals for advice not administrative tasks.

    Intermediaries – software developers

    • I want the ATO to engage with me earlier and give me the opportunity to explore the problem they want to solve, rather than give me a solution to implement.
    • I want to see a compelling value proposition for any software change.
    • I like small, phased roll-outs of work to deliver new initiatives and make it easier to manage my priorities.
    • I want to see more data sharing opportunities
    • I want the ATO to fix the basics, e.g. AUSkey.
    • I want the ATO to better understand how our industry operates and adjust their approach, so it better aligns with our product development cycles.
    • I would like to see the ATO engaging with all relevant parties early on new services, so everyone’s voice is heard.

    Superannuation funds

    • Employers want meeting their super obligations to be seamless and easy.
    • We are going through a significant amount of reform and want any further changes to build on that investment.
    • As an APRA fund, we want all dealings with the ATO to be electronic.
    • Basic information products are good however we want to be able to more easily access detailed and technical information when we
    • We want more proactive communication from the ATO, eg when systems are down or there is significant news to share.

    ATO staff

    • Provide me with the technology I need to get the job done.
    • The amount of process and red tape I have to wade through slows down my work.
    • Leaders need to lead from the front, and be committed to empowering and trusting staff.
    • I want more accountability for my work, and greater decision making power.
    • The ATO needs to be an organisation where I can apply my skills and grow as a professional.
    • Let us move between roles. I want to use the skills I already have to help make the ATO a better place.
    • I am fatigued by all the change that has been occurring.
    • Show me how.
      Last modified: 19 Aug 2016QC 49929