Working together to improve voluntary compliance program report

In the 2010–11 Budget, the ATO received funding for a four-year program to improve voluntary compliance and provide a level playing field for businesses. The program concluded on 30 June 2014.

Over the initial four years, we focused on four key areas (quadrants) achieving positive outcomes for revenue and influencing compliance behaviour.

Table 6: ‘Working together to improve voluntary compliance’ program outcomes



Program activities

Program outcomes


the detection and reduction of inflated or fabricated GST refunds

  • enhanced our refund risk models and expanded our fraud detection capability to focus on higher risk refunds
  • refined our registration risk models to detect registrations which were either unnecessary or potentially fraudulent
  • conducted pre-lodgment checks on new GST registrations which appeared to be of high risk
  • significant increase in the number of fraudulent refund claims detected and referred for prosecution 
  •  over 17,000 GST registrations have been cancelled from the system before their first lodgment; this has removed both taxpayers who need not be in the system, and those who enter with the intent of potentially claiming fraudulent GST refunds 
  •  registration work has enhanced the integrity of our registers



the investigation of systematic or deliberate under-reporting of GST

  • referred additional cases for further investigation where collection was deemed unlikely based on the history and behaviour of the taxpayer
  • introduced and implemented new strategies focused on addressing phoenix property developers
  • increased active compliance activities focused on systematic or deliberate under-reporting of GST
  • significant increase in revenue collected as a result of the detection of deliberate under reporting of GST 
  • more high-risk property developers are reporting their sales and paying the GST they owe, as a result of our close monitoring 
  • the strikes rate and other indicators used across the program indicate that while the incidence of non-compliant behaviour has not changed significantly, we are more effective with detecting and dealing with the risk


more direct contact with non-lodgers

  • increased targeted and personal interaction with non-lodgers and late lodgers through reminders and enforcement action where required
  • trend in on time lodgment has improved over the years 
  • of the activity statements lodged late, the median number of days late is decreasing 
  • taxpayers subject to a lodgment enforcement activity show a significant improvement in future lodgment behaviour


more direct contact with taxpayers who have a GST debt

  • increased referral of debt cases to external collection agencies, and the use of other early collection approaches
  • increased activities focused on aged debtors to address the flow of cases into aged debt holdings
  • revenue collection results from debt collection activities far exceeded the collection commitments 
  •  rate of growth of GST collectable debt has slowed significantly 
  •  taxpayers subject to an audit or debt case show an improvement in their future behaviour 
  • ratio of GST collectable debt to total collectable debt has markedly improved
    Last modified: 22 Dec 2014QC 43515