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  • Top 500 client survey summary – February 2022

    Summary of the outcomes from our survey conducted with Top 500 program participants in February 2022.

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    The survey was conducted to understand our clients experience from their involvement in the Top 500 program. We sent a questionnaire to Top 500 participants and their advisers who we had engaged with.

    36% of all survey questionnaires we issued were responded to. We note that some advisers may have responded using one questionnaire on behalf of multiple clients.

    The results showed that 72% of participants were satisfied with the program, while 18% were neutral and 10% were not satisfied.

    Overall satisfaction responses

    Chart showing most participants satisfied with Top 500 program (72%) with 18% neutral and 10% unsatisfied.

    Key insights

    • Clients value early and ongoing engagement through a one-on-one direct relationship with us.
    • Case teams rated highly in their understanding of our clients’ groups. However, we need to ensure that requests for information are tailored.
    • The program has assisted clients understand how effective tax governance helps them meet their tax obligations. However, this has not strongly translated into investing more in this area.
    • We need to ensure that we communicate our view of the effectiveness of governance frameworks and tax risks.
    • Costs of participation in the program continue to rate as a concern.
    • Clients see benefit in discussing issues through open and regular communication which facilitates early resolution of tax issues and prevents disputes.
    • We should be mindful of the length of time needed to respond to requests for information. Clients would also like more regular updates about the progress of their engagement.
    • As a result of our engagements, clients are more likely to consider the tax implications of future transactions.

    Tax governance

    Participants responded to questions regarding tax governance for the Top 500 program as follows.

    I understand how effective tax governance supports me to meet my tax obligations

    • 84% agree
    • 12% neutral
    • 4% disagree.

    The engagement encouraged me to invest more in improving governance over my tax affairs

    • 58% agree
    • 30% neutral
    • 12% disagree.

    The engagement provided me with feedback and guidance about the effectiveness of my tax governance and any tax risks

    • 68% agree
    • 15% neutral
    • 17% disagree.

    Tax governance responses

    Graphical representation showing participant  responses for Top 500 program governance.

    Client engagement

    Participants rated our client engagement as follows.

    The level of communication you received about the objectives of the Top 500 program

    • 81% satisfied
    • 14% neutral
    • 5% dissatisfied.

    The level of understanding of your group structure

    • 81% satisfied
    • 13% neutral
    • 6% dissatisfied.

    The level of understanding and working knowledge of your business or other income producing activities

    • 78% satisfied
    • 14% neutral
    • 8% dissatisfied.

    The level of knowledge of the tax law relevant to issues raised in the engagement

    • 75% satisfied
    • 16% neutral
    • 9% dissatisfied.

    The extent to which requests for information are tailored to business and / or income producing activities

    • 68% satisfied
    • 20% neutral
    • 12% dissatisfied.

    The amount of time provided to respond to requests for information is reasonable

    • 77% satisfied
    • 9% neutral
    • 14% dissatisfied.

    The regularity of communication about the progress of the engagement

    • 68% satisfied
    • 19% neutral
    • 13% dissatisfied.

    I am treated in a professional, courteous and respectful manner

    • 99% satisfied
    • 1% neutral
    • 0% dissatisfied.

    Client engagement responses

    Chart representing summary of participants' responses to client engagement.

    What clients said

    • The opportunity to engage on technical matters and risks in a timely basis rather than years later when a dispute occurs is an area that is working well.
    • To have a direct contact and ability to discuss issues is a win-win.
    • We have been working with our ATO relationship team for many years and over that time have built a mutual relationship of confidence and trust.
    • Timing of requests and extent of information required can be extremely resource intensive.
    • The process is slow – it would be good to close out the review in a shorter time frame.
    • Emphasis on tax governance also has a good impact I think on client's systems and processes.
    • The education around ATO expectations relating to risk areas and tax governance is working well.
    • Tax governance documentation to meet ATO requests is very time and resource consuming.
    • Understand that private groups may not have the level of governance documentation one would see in public groups.
    • Provide much clearer policy guidance on how obtaining a positive governance or assurance rating will favourably impact future ATO interactions – that is, frequency, intensity, etc.
    Last modified: 02 Nov 2022QC 70754