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KPI 2 performance summary

Last updated 26 February 2020

Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective

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.





Provide guidance and information that is up to date, clear, accessible and concise through media appropriate to the target audience.

7, A3–A7


Provide decisions and advice in a timely manner, clearly articulating expectations and the underlying reasons for decisions.

6 – 9, S3


Provide advice that is consistent and supports, where appropriate, predictable outcomes.


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 maintained clear, targeted and effective communication with regulated entities.

Summary of metric results

Performance either improved or met target for two of the 11 metrics for this KPI, with two showing a decline, two new metrics for 2018–19 and five based on activities.

Our performance exceeded the relevant targets for both of our service commitments. However, our performance with respect to average completion times for both private rulings and objections declined. Significant work is currently underway to shift staff into our disputes area, along with streamlining systems and processes.

Activity-based examples

We produced proactive advice and guidance on a range of issues including the expansion of the taxable payments reporting system, changes to the small business tax rates and the tax treatment for compensation paid to individuals following the Royal Commission into banking misconduct. We continued our communication and education programs, delivering new training modules to address specific tax avoidance behaviours identified by our Black Economy Taskforce, along with our regular workshops and webinars. Our Indigenous helpline received a record 25,000 calls for specialised tax and super assistance during 2018–19.

Modernisation of our infrastructure for improved ATO systems resilience included relocating critical applications to a more resilient storage system, and providing dedicated infrastructure for Online services for agents and ATO Online capability to improve performance and stability for Tax Time 2019. We upgraded the tools we use to interact with our clients over the phone, including improved voiceprint matching, which has reduced average call times for clients. To help our staff provide better services to clients and work together from different sites, we updated desktop and laptop computers and expanded security and functionality of online training and meeting rooms.

A key component of our service and channel management strategy is the ATO service model, which has been designed around the key theme ‘every interaction matters’. Work on the model continued in 2018–19, with a focus on improving our clients’ experience of the various channels they use to interact with us. The strategy will see us direct our investment and effort into preferred channels, so the client experience in those preferred channels is optimised.

By delivering a range of digital channel experience options, we help meet client expectations of a ‘24x7’ service and reduce our reliance on paper to contact clients. By identifying what people need to know, we can make it available through self-service channels such as our website. This year we:

  • digitised the ABN confirmation letter, replacing over 800,000 letters a year
  • provided more self-help tools for tax professionals and coached callers on how to use the tools
  • stopped sending paper activity statements for monthly self-preparers and quarterly agent lodgers.

In 2018–19, we initiated a program to transform our outbound communications to ‘digital first’. We reduced the paper correspondence we send by replacing it with email, SMS, the myGov Inbox and the tax and BAS agent portals, or by sending it less often. We estimate that we will save $2 million each year by sending clients their general interest charge statement of account quarterly instead of monthly.

We continued to improve the digital experience for tax and BAS agents. Online services for agents was made available to all tax and BAS agents from March 2019. This platform was made the default system for BAS agents on 29 May 2019, with tax agents likely to follow later in 2019.

The ATO has a number of initiatives designed to assist clients with their tax affairs. In guiding taxpayers to understand their rights and obligations in a range of situations, we focus on providing pre-emptive advice to inform taxpayers about issues before they emerge, to assist them to get things right at the start.

We provided support for small businesses through a range of channels, including:

  • assistance to farmers and drought-affected businesses in NSW, Victoria and SA through the Federal Government Drought Community Outreach program
  • pilot of the Reach Out Indigenous Business Support program with workshops held in Ipswich, Darwin and on Palm Island, reaching up to 450 Indigenous business owners
  • delivery of over 2,300 workshops and webinars on a range of topics
  • distribution of over 1.6 million emails as part of our New to business essentials service
  • letters, emails and SMS to over 143,000 new clients in high-risk industries to provide information on the taxable payments reporting system
  • our Small Business Newsroom service, with19% more subscribers this year.

For more information about our small business workshops, see Small business workshops.