In order to assess the extent to which taxpayers are relying on the FOI process to ascertain relevant information from the ATO during compliance processes, the IGT recommends that the ATO:
- update its internal FOI record-keeping system to record whether FOI requests are made in relation to compliance cases; and
- publish the outcome annually thereafter to establish the extent to which taxpayers are using the FOI process during compliance activities in gaining access to relevant information.
We agreed in part with this recommendation and it is currently in progress.
We began to record freedom of information (FOI) requests made in connection with active compliance cases on 1 January 2013. The first annual collection was completed on 31 December 2013.
In the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, the ATO registered 226 FOI requests as made in connection with active compliance cases – that was 27.6% of the 818 FOI requests made in that period.