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KPI 1 performance summary

Last updated 26 February 2020

Regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities

The following table shows the measures of good regulatory performance and the related metrics. The results of the metrics and analysis are outlined in the Appendix.





Demonstrate an understanding of the operating environment of the industry or organisation, or the circumstances of individuals and the current and emerging issues that affect the sector.

S1, A2


Take actions to minimise the potential for unintended negative impacts of ATO activities on taxpayers or affected supplier industries and supply chains.

1, 4, 5, S2


Implement continuous improvement strategies to reduce the costs of compliance for taxpayers.

2, 3

Self-assessment rating: Good

This assessment is based on the results of the metrics relating to each measure and the examples of how we have reduced impediments to the efficient operation of regulated entities.

Summary of metric results

Performance either improved or met target for five of the eight metrics for this KPI, with two new metrics for 2018–19 and one based on activities.

Positive outcomes were achieved through 2018–19 with respect to a decline in the number of complaints and improved results for both availability of key digital systems and the proportion of inbound transactions received digitally. We also met our performance target for the reduction in unintended administrative costs for businesses and compliance costs for individuals.

Activity-based examples

Along with protecting revenue, the ATO is charged with protecting people’s superannuation. We work with the superannuation industry to provide information to allow individuals to make informed decisions about their retirement.

In 2018–19, we supported the superannuation system by:

  • helping Australians connect with their superannuation. ATO Online services were used to consolidate over 537,600 accounts worth $4.4 billion.
  • implementing a Member Account Attribute Service and Member Account Transaction Service to improve and streamline APRA-regulated fund reporting and provide greater ‘real time’ visibility of superannuation contributions. We successfully on boarded 99% and 94% of funds respectively by the compliance dates. We worked closely with industry and funds to ensure the integrity of the foundation data into the new reporting tools.
  • protecting retirement savings for members of self-managed super funds (SMSFs), by reviewing and auditing SMSF funds, trustees and auditors.
  • streamlining processes through Single Touch Payroll (STP). We worked with software developers to expand STP to employers with fewer than 20 employees, ensuring there will be a good range of low-cost reporting software in the market – including low-cost or no-cost products for employers with fewer than four employees. As at 30 June 2019, we had 58,600 substantial employers (80% of the target population) reporting tax and superannuation information through STP, and another 108,000 employers with fewer than 20 employees voluntarily reporting before the legislative start date for this group. More information about STP is available at

During the year, we provided tailored support to our various client groups to facilitate and encourage voluntary compliance, and make the taxpayer experience helpful and 'light-touch'. Individuals (not in business) are supported by the ATO in a range of ways. Our myTax portal is more streamlined, efficient and personalised and pre-fills information provided to us by employers, banks and government agencies, making it easier for taxpayers to complete their tax returns.

To help taxpayers get their tax returns right, we guided them with real-time messages – for example, on work-related expenses, and dividend and interest income.

Our penalty relief initiative means that when taxpayers make an inadvertent error in their income tax returns and activity statements, they are not penalised.

Measuring availability of our digital systems ensures that we understand the reliability of services for clients interacting digitally. During 2018–19, our key digital systems have been highly available to the community (99.5% availability, excluding scheduled outages). We are investing in improvements that continue to increase the resilience and availability of ATO digital services, so that critical services are secure, highly available and scaled appropriately for the expected increase in transaction volumes.

In 2018–19, the Australian Business Register (ABR) remained a trusted source of data for business, government and the community, with over 1.4 billion ABN lookups taking place. We continued to make improvements to the register and the registration process to ensure the experience strikes the right balance between making it easy to get things right, and hard not to.

By promoting a common language for business information and standards for electronic information sharing, the SBR program contributed to a total annual reduction of $1.55 billion in administrative savings to business and the government in 2018–19, relative to the costs of businesses using lodgment methods via previous systems. To support its evolution and ongoing relevance, we continue to engage and build our relationships with key partner agencies.