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KPI 6 performance summary

Last updated 26 February 2020

Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks

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.





Establish cooperative and collaborative relationships with stakeholders to promote trust and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ATO administration.

15, S9, A1


Engage stakeholders in the development of options to reduce compliance costs.



Regularly share feedback from stakeholders and performance information with policy departments to improve the operation of the tax and superannuation systems and associated administrative processes.

n/a (1b)

Note 1b: There are no specific metrics for measure 6.3, as per the ATO Regulator Performance Framework.

Self-assessment rating: Good

This assessment is based on the results of the metrics relating to each measure and the examples of how we contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.

Summary of metric results

Performance either improved or met target for two of the three metrics for this KPI with one based on activities.

Strong results of our engagement and sharing of information with stakeholders and working with government agencies to contribute to improvements in the operation of the tax and superannuation systems, are outlined in the following activity-based examples.

Activity-based examples

We use our insights to shape the tax and superannuation systems, assess where the law has not been working as intended, and to develop ideas to improve the system and prepare for future challenges and changes. We help influence proposed policy and legislation and share our analytical expertise by:

  • providing data and costings advice on policy proposals
  • working closely with Treasury on ATO-generated new policy proposals, as well as those led by Treasury, including revenue proposals sought by Treasury for the Budget and the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook
  • collaborating with Treasury on the design of new legislation, and providing input into explanatory materials and joint quality assurance of draft laws.

Our relationship with Treasury is a significant component in successfully influencing new legislation; and our performance measure 'Influence – Government and Treasury perceptions of the ATO and the quality of our advice' achieved a ‘Good’ rating in 2018–19.

We provide tax and superannuation systems insights and responses and inform policy development and research. Along with our annual publication of aggregated taxation statistics, in 2018–19, we:

  • worked with the Board of Taxation on a survey on compliance costs associated with fringe benefits tax
  • provided access to our database of ‘confidentialised’ longitudinal data on individual income tax returns to researchers in 19 Australian universities, and expanded the database
  • contributed to a whole-of-government public data strategy overseen by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • provided research and data to inform the Council of Financial Regulators final report into risk and leverage in the superannuation system, in addition to providing information and calculations to support the Productivity Commission’s review into the efficiency and competitiveness of the superannuation system
  • assisted with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Multi-Agency Data Integration Project, the Department of Social Security’s research into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) workforce, and the work of the Department of Jobs and Small Business following closure of the Australian automotive manufacturing industry, including their assessment of retraining programs.

We delivered significant changes to our tax and BAS agent services in 2018–19. Our practitioner lodgment service (PLS) became the sole channel for tax agents to electronically lodge current year income tax returns, with approximately 6.8 million returns successfully lodged during Tax Time 2018. For agents using the service, more of their clients had their refunds processed within five days compared to previous years.

Since March 2019, all tax and BAS agents have been able to access Online services for agents. This system replaces our tax and BAS agent portals, with a modern, customisable interface that addresses portal irritants and provides access to new functionality. It delivers more real-time client information, such as individuals’ superannuation and income tax return history, and includes the ability to create payment plans and search for clients by name. More information is available at

We partnered with 530 digital service providers (DSPs) consuming 269 web services. An online service was introduced to streamline interactions with DSPs, providing a secure environment to access support. We reviewed all DSPs against the ATO’s Operational Framework, with all DSPs – representing 676 digital products – meeting the requirements. Extending on the framework and at the request of industry, we worked in collaboration with the Australian Business Software Industry Association to develop common cyber security standards for add-on marketplaces.

Through our international collaboration with other tax administrators, we share information to better influence tax reform and identify global trends and best practices.

This year, our involvement with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) included co-hosting the fifth meeting of the Global Forum on Value Added Tax and GST and presenting at the Forum on Tax Administration in Chile. Our work on issues raised by the Panama and Paradise papers was recognised by the Chair of the OECD’s Forum on Taxation Administration.

We completed our first international exchange under the new Common Reporting Standard, receiving over 1.5 million financial accounts to review from over 60 tax jurisdictions – including those that have been associated with tax havens and bank secrecy.

The Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting came into effect this year, enabling jurisdictions to swiftly modify their tax treaties to better address multinational tax avoidance and more effectively resolve tax disputes. Together with New Zealand Inland Revenue, we published a joint administrative approach, to provide certainty for eligible taxpayers and allow us to prioritise our resources on matters with material revenue consequences or a higher risk of tax avoidance.

Working smarter to be more efficient is one of the benefits from many of our objectives, from extending our use of data to developing our staff. In addition to automating processes where we can, we have made business improvements through work redesign. Simplifying how we work has resulted in faster processing speeds and fewer escalations and transfers. Our Debt staff now manage both debt and outstanding lodgments for clients, rather than only dealing with existing debt.

Each of our ATO stewardship groups has diverse representation across the Australian community, ensuring we have access to the views and inputs of as many stakeholders as possible. These groups are responsible for the stewardship of their respective market or product segment. Throughout 2018–19, we continued to collaborate with key stakeholders to optimise the contribution these groups make to the tax and superannuation systems.