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.
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.
Performance improved for one of the three metrics for this KPI with one remaining broadly stable, and one based on activities.
Strong results relating to 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.
We work closely with Treasury on the development of legislation for measures announced by the Australian Government, providing advice on how the drafted law can be best administered and meet the intent of the policy. Our advice considers insights from across the ATO, including revenue implications, feedback from front-line activities, interactions with IT systems, and administrative and compliance impacts.
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 ‘Very good’ rating in 2019–20.
We played a key role in designing and implementing law for the government’s response to national disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data available to the ATO, we provide analysis on the effects that these major events and the government’s response will have on revenue available to deliver programs for the Australian people. We provided data analysis on the effect of responses to COVID-19 on tax collections and the operation of COVID-19 stimulus measures. Our data analysis, costing and forecasting has been relied on for the government’s economic update in July 2020 and the development of the Federal Budget, delivered in October 2020.
In 2019–20 we also contributed policy and legislative advice to the following bodies of work:
- modernising business registers and introducing director identification numbers – to make it easier and faster for businesses to interact with the government, and to create a single, accessible and trusted source of business data
- combatting illegal phoenix activity – building on the work of the Phoenix Taskforce to deter and disrupt illegal phoenix activity and reduce the impact on businesses, employees and government
- superannuation – facilitating the closure of eligible rollover funds and, in certain circumstances, allowing fund trustees to voluntarily transfer amounts they hold to the ATO
- National Tax Clinic Program – securing $4 million over four years to fund tax clinics across the country, following the success of a pilot program.
We continue foundational, strategic work with our partners to develop a Data sharing ethical framework to position responsibilities and rights in an increasingly data-driven world. The Data and Analytics Steering Committee is putting related governance arrangements in place and a data ethics review panel will be established. Working with Treasury and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), we are making data available to the Australian Government and individual agencies, including employment and tax debt data.
We also work with other agencies to provide integrated ATO insights, advice and expertise for designing a better tax and superannuation system. ATO officers assisted the Board of Taxation, providing advice on working groups for the Fringe benefits tax compliance cost review, consultation for Reforming the income tax residency rules for individuals, for the Corporate tax residency review and through the provision of secretariat services.
We continued our ongoing work to improve our digital services for agents. We transitioned all tax and BAS agents to our Online services for agents and decommissioned the Tax and BAS Agent portals. This provides a more reliable and personalised service and a consistent user-interface across ATO Online platforms, as well as the ability to conduct more transactions online in real time.
With the availability of the new myGovID digital identity credential, tax practitioners were better positioned to access government online services securely and remotely, particularly in the COVID-19 environment.
Our work in improving digital services for tax practitioners via software and online was recognised in:
- the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020 – with the ATO named a finalist in the category of ‘Best Federal Government Project’
- the Digital + Technology Collective 2019 AMY Awards – with Online services for agents selected as the winning entry in the category of ‘Utility’, an award for the best in tools, apps, online services and other digital offerings devoted to simplifying, streamlining or just improving the daily life of clients.
We were able to achieve this through our close partnership with tax practitioners and software developers.
Our 2019–20 corporate plan introduced a new initiative to deliver online services for business. By replacing the Business Portal with our ATO Online platform, we will be able to introduce additional tailored services. During 2019–20, all key milestones and readiness activities were met. These include high-level design, mapping out the change and transition approach, and planning for beta testing with specific users in readiness for Online services for business being released in 2020–21.
The ATO and TPB are enhancing the integrity of the system through activities such as data sharing, ensuring that our separate roles are coordinated in applying strategies to address risks, and improving guidance material and communications. Throughout the year, we worked closely with the TPB to share intelligence early and ensure that the activities of the highest risk practitioners are addressed, implementing the Joint Compliance Program. In 2019–20, the ATO made actionable referrals related to around 300 tax agents and unregistered preparers.
Through our international partnerships with other tax administrators, we share information to influence tax reform and identify global trends and best practices. In 2019–20, our international program included our participation as members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – including its Forum on Tax Administration and the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC), which we chair. We met with revenue agencies in North America, Europe and South East Asia.
Australia’s international network of treaties and information exchange agreements extends to over 100 jurisdictions through our Double Tax Agreements, Tax Information Exchange Agreements and the OECD Multilateral Convention. Australia’s treaty network also facilitates international collaboration with other jurisdictions on compliance projects and common tax risks and issues, providing for increased transparency across jurisdictions.
We provided advice to jurisdictions adopting the Australian cross-border framework approach to managing consumption tax, including Thailand, Norway, Singapore, the European Union and New Zealand.