Individual Taxpayer Liaison Group Minutes, 19 March 2015

Meeting details

Venue: ATO National Office, Canberra

Date: 19 March 2015

Start: 9:30am

Finish: 1:00pm

Chair: Steve Vesperman

Contact and Secretariat: Sandra Wormald

Contact phone: (02) 9374 5658




Robert Curley

Association of Independent Retirees

Lloyd Bruce

Association of Independent Retirees

Edward Patching

Australian Shareholders Association

Carmel Franklin

Financial Counselling Australia

Michael O’Neill

National Seniors

Frank Brass

H&R Block

Greg Cox

The Treasury



Steve Vesperman

Deputy Commissioner Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Graham Whyte

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Karen Anstis

Assistant Commissioner Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Michael Zeitlhofer

Senior Director Superannuation



Hamidullah Nida


Erin Gillen

Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia

Therese Sands

People with Disability Australia

Eun Ju Kim-Baker

Youth representative

Mark Chapman

Taxpayers Australia


Individual Taxpayer Liaison Group agendas, minutes and related papers are not binding on the ATO or any of the other bodies referred to in these papers. While every effort is made to accurately record the views expressed, the wording necessarily represents a summary of statements of general position only, and care should be taken in interpreting those statements. These papers reflect the position at the date of release (unless otherwise noted) and readers should note that the position on any issue may subsequently change.

1. Welcome and introductions

Steve Vesperman opened the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance.

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 October 2014 were endorsed without change.

2. Reinventing the ATO

Steve outlined that the Reinventing the ATO blueprint was released to the community by Commissioner, Chris Jordan in a speech to the Tax Institute of Australia. The blueprint reflects the kind of experience the community wants to have when they participate in the tax and super system.

From today members are able to access information through our Reinventing the ATO micro site via links in an email issued earlier today.

Handy links

Our new Reinvention web site has some material you can reference when engaging with your members. Here are some handy links.

This is where you will find all the information and resources for the Reinventing the ATO program.

Here you will find the full version of the Reinventing the ATO blueprint.

This is a summary highlighting the key elements of the Reinventing the ATO blueprint.

A one page overview of the main practical changes the community will see over the next six months.

A brief video that captures what the future experience could look like for individuals.

A brief video that captures what the future experience could look like for small business.

A brief video that captures what the future experience could look like for tax practitioners.

There are six programs that will progress the detailed design. These are:

  • Contemporary digital services
  • Smarter data
  • Working with our partners in the tax and superannuation systems
  • Tailored engagement and support
  • Optimise workforce capability
  • Governance, design and evaluation

More details about these programs will be shared in the coming months.

In general discussion about the future direction of the ATO concerns were raised about the perceived increased focus on debt collection.

Action item:

ITLG 2015/03-01


Due Date:

Next meeting




3. MyTax update and future devlopments

Over one million taxpayers lodged returns using myTax during Tax Time 2014. A variety of contemporary marketing and communication approaches to eligible taxpayers was used for Tax Time 2014 including email, social media, SMS and YouTube promotional videos.

Feedback was collected via social media and an exit survey in myTax. The feedback from users was positive with a satisfaction rate of around 90% and 82% provided feedback indicating myTax was a better experience than the lodgment channel they had previously used to lodge their return.

Independent market research exploring lodgment perceptions, preferences and behaviours was conducted nationally in February 2015. The groups contacted were:

  • Used myTax in 2014
  • Eligible for myTax in 2014 but did not use it
  • Newly eligible for myTax in 2015.

The objectives of the research sought to gain a better understanding of taxpayers’ motivations and barriers to using myTax will:

  • Enable a tailored communications strategy to best influence, inform and interact with taxpayers
  • Provide guidance on where to concentrate communication efforts
  • What messages/actions would shift individual tax return lodger behaviour

There are additional labels in myTax for 2015, covering superannuation pensions, lump sum payments, managed fund income, additional offsets associated with these income types and an improved save and resume function. The ATO has co-designed myTax with users to improve, tailor and streamline the design.

Looking further out, in 2016 the ATO is planning on having one lodgment product for self-preparers and would replace e-tax. This would include rental income, capital gains, and foreign income.

Once an individual creates a myGov account they also have access to link to SuperSeeker online. This year there were 220,000 transactions to consolidate superannuation accounts.

From a whole of Government perspective, there are real benefits for individuals to have a myGov account which links Government agencies and provides a single entry point for secure online transactions.

Members were encouraged to provide their input and ideas to increase the uptake of myTax.

Feedback can be emailed to the secretariat at any time,

4. What's new for Tax Time 2015

Tax Time 2015 will see the continuation of the program of change – delivering contemporary and tailored services to the community with a focus on increasing digital interactions.

This includes expanded eligibility and increased personalisation of myTax and the introduction of a suite of return-related online services accessible through myGov.

Changes such as the electronic notice of assessment and tax receipt, and the abolishment of the mature aged worked offset and dependant spouse tax offset, are also being introduced this year.

An expanded suite of online services will be available for Tax Time 2015, including:

  • Amendments of 2014 and 2015 returns
  • Refund of franking credits
  • Non-lodgment advice
  • Lodgment of immediate prior year return (via myTax 2014)
  • Ability to view (and print) a copy of lodged returns
  • Notice of assessment / tax receipt will be sent to myGov inbox

There was discussion about enhancements to the registration process for myGov including the introduction of a more user-friendly login name. Members were requested to seek feedback from their constituents about whether this change has improved the process and report back to the group at the next meeting.

Action item:

ITLG 2015/03-02


Due Date:

Next meeting




5. PAYGI - Activity statements online

The ATO is improving the client experience by providing the ability to view, lodge, vary and pay activity statements online for all individuals, including those in business for Tax Time 2015. Approximately 1.3 million taxpayers will benefit from this experience.

This change will also allow them to enter a payment plan for activity statement debts.

In addition the ATO is working on providing further contemporary services online for all PAYG instalment obligations including the:

  • delivery of correspondence through myGov for individuals (from 1 April 2015)
  • ability to voluntarily enter the PAYG instalment system
  • ability to exit the PAYG instalment system in real time
  • ability to elect to pay annually

Further enhancements proposed for the future will extend the ability to manage PAYG instalment obligations on ATO Portals.

Action item:

ITLG 2015/03-03


Due Date:

22 May 2015

Christina Byrnes



6. ATO website enhancements

The ATO recognises the need for its website to provide a contemporary, tailored, professional and easy to use service.

Members were updated with the progress of enhancements to the ATO website. Topics most relevant to individuals where initial efforts to rationalise content were demonstrated and feedback from members encouraged.

Members are also encouraged to provide feedback on the topics where the rationalisation of content is still in progress.

Information sessions about general or specific elements of the ATO website to groups of members’ constituents may be available on request.

Feedback can be emailed to the secretariat at any time,

Action item:

ITLG 2015/03-04


Due Date:

Next meeting




7. Member organisation update/General business

Members reiterated that topical material from the ATO for their organisations newsletters and published on their websites is welcome.

Treasury mentioned a number of recent government releases:

Intergenerational Report - Overview Link

Intergenerational Report - Full report Link

Tax discussion paper Link

8. Wrap up and close

Chair Steve Vesperman thanked members for their contributions to the meeting and noted the ATO would give further consideration to the issues and ideas raised.

The next meeting is scheduled for 9 July 2015 in Canberra.

    Last modified: 25 May 2015QC 45259