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
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, one remained broadly stable, and one is 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.
Advising Treasury and government
The tax and superannuation systems need to continually evolve to remain fit for purpose in underpinning Australia’s revenue base. The ATO uses insights from the data we hold and our understanding of our clients to provide advice to Treasury and government on how proposed policies will operate in practice. We apply technical expertise to contribute to the design of new measures, helping to achieve the policy intent while ensuring integrity in the system and making it easy for taxpayers to meet their obligations or claim their entitlements. The ‘influence’ KPI measures the effectiveness of the ATO and Treasury partnership and was rated as very good, meeting the 2020–21 target (‘good’).
In 2020–21, we contributed policy and legislative advice to two Federal Budgets and the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) process, resulting in government announcements of 77 measures impacting the ATO and our clients. We also share our analytical expertise with Treasury to assist in advice to government and the community and, in 2020–21, we contributed:
- policy costings
- tax data to help with the analysis of economic trends and impacts from stimulus measures
- revenue and expense forecasts, and data on the impact of JobKeeper on the community
- input to the Tax Benchmarks and Variation Statement published by Treasury.
Tax practitioner support
Our engagement programs for tax practitioners are designed to foster strong working relationships and help us understand tax practitioners’ needs and areas of concern. This enables us to make improvements and tailor our interactions and services to meet those needs.
Our supported lodgment program offers tailored support to registered tax agent and BAS agents (registered agents) where their practice has been affected by issues such as illness, loss of a key staff member, or COVID-19. We also undertook an extensive communications program to help tax practitioners understand stimulus measures and how their clients could access these measures, and how to treat the various types of payments received or expenses incurred as a result of the pandemic.
Following the release of Online services for agents in 2019, we continue to build contemporary solutions and digitise more of our outbound communications. Over 40% of registered agents are now using our communication preferencing service, enabling them to receive digital correspondence on behalf of their clients. Over one million pieces of correspondence have been delivered to registered agents digitally since the service was deployed in early 2020. In 2021–22, we will deliver work to allow digital service providers to build this functionality into their software, supporting agents to manage their client communication through their natural systems.
Collaboration with digital partners
We partner with and provide valuable support to a growing number of digital partners, including digital service providers (DSPs), other government agencies, third parties, and industry representatives. We co-design future digital and analytical solutions with our partners to improve the tax and superannuation experience for the community throughout the various stages of software development. Our Digital Partnership Office provides critical and specialised support to industry to ensure they can successfully adopt, develop and consume ATO digital services and ATO-maintained ‘whole-of-government’ services. The work we undertake with our digital partners and their representatives serves as a key element of our success in building better tools for clients, whether they deal with us via ATO online services or through commercial software.
We collaborate with our digital partners on the design of future services and to improve the operation of the tax and superannuation systems by streamlining and integrating digital and analytical solutions. Comprehensive support is also provided to DSPs by:
- providing ‘on-boarding’ and technical support throughout their full software development lifecycle – design, build, test, certify and live production incident management
- implementing support for new projects and digital services
- sharing important research and intelligence with our partners to inform the strategic direction of our digital offerings for the community
- informing about upcoming consultations and engagements (many of which the ATO leads and facilitates)
- supporting the broader industry via presenting important information at industry events.
This year we supported over 550 DSPs and conducted over 100 consultation exercises to collaborate and co-design new services, including JobKeeper Payment Scheme extension, JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme, Modernising Business Registers, STP Phase 2, Digital Services Gateway, Tax Time 2021 and SMSF Rollover version 3. We also consulted with over 50 DSPs to undertake a review of the DSP Operational Security Framework, resulting in an improvement to our security requirements and reducing the risk of exposure of ATO client data through application programming interfaces. As part of this, we established a set of minimum requirements for tax practitioners to uplift client verification processes.
Our proposed future changes (including the introduction of a ‘Strategic Partner’ model) will ensure we are well placed to continue supporting and engaging DSPs, and to work together on our future service offerings.