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Government Entities Working Group key messages 11 April 2022

Key topics discussed at the Government Entities Working Group meeting on 11 April 2022.

Last updated 25 May 2022


Co-chairs Jennifer Moltisanti and Nella Di Benedetto welcomed members to the third Government Entities Working Group (GEWG) meeting.

Members were advised they are required to disclose any conflict, whether real, perceived, or potential, that arises in relation to their role as a member of the group.

No conflicts of interest were raised.

The secretariat confirmed one permanent membership change to the group, with Michael Buckland replacing Lisa Davidson as the government representative from the Future Fund.

Nella Di Benedetto introduced two meeting observers to the group, Jacqueline Hardwick and Langdon Patrick from KPMG.

Update on government plan and priorities

Nella Di Benedetto took the group through the working with government presentation, providing an overview of the government client population and highlighting the government relations team’s 2021–22 priorities.

Progressing the government assurance program

  • focusing on the principles that underpin justified trust
  • leveraging existing governance frameworks, guides, and tools
  • implementing a self-review program to provide transparency and an increased level of assurance
  • what attracts our attention
  • what you can do to achieve higher assurance.


  • what it is and how it works
  • what the benefits are
  • requirements, raising awareness and increasing adoption for government entities.

Co-design workshop

  • Four key clusters, Pathway, Concierge Service, Communication and Collaboration were identified from interviews conducted with GEWG members
  • members then participated in a collaborative design workshop on 21 July 2021 to address a question related to each cluster
  • the workshop was held to ideate – identify as many solutions addressing the question as possible for each key cluster
  • members were separated into four groups with each group allocated a key cluster
  • each group selected an idea which would have the most impact on them and developed a concept poster to explore the idea.

Idea validation from the government tax managers conference 2021

Nella Di Benedetto discussed the polling of attendees at the government tax managers conference 2021, held in November. Attendees were asked to select an idea which they felt was most impactful and important for tax managers, for each of the four key clusters from the co-design workshop.

Collaboration update

Jennifer Moltisanti and Nella Di Benedetto discussed the next steps for the GEWG following the co-design workshop:

  • There is an understanding that government entities try to do the right thing, however, they can and do make mistakes.
  • The government relations team will support the development of appropriate governance for government entities.
  • The working group is an important network, and member feedback and collaboration are leveraged to understand key issues for government entities and to provide tailored support.
  • Given finite resources, the ATO cannot commit to providing individual client managers, however, other channels are currently being considered, such as, access to the not-for-profit premium advice service which may provide a potential pathway into the ATO for government entities, ensuring their queries are streamed to the correct area within the ATO.
  • Our not-for-profit centre advice & endorsements staff are being trained to manage the mailbox. This ties in with the ‘dedicated area’ idea developed for the ‘concierge service’ key cluster at the co-design workshop.

Round table discussion

Jennifer Moltisanti and Nella Di Benedetto asked members to share what they are currently hearing and seeing and what issues they are facing.

Member comments:

  • When issues are identified by government clients, they would prefer to speak to a dedicated ATO contact; as the current service received from the ATO call centre is to have information repeated to them, which does not resolve their issue.
  • Currently working on annual obligations, in particular fringe benefits tax (FBT) and the changing ATO view in relation to car parking.
  • Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar announced in a media release dated 29 March 2022 that the Morrison Government will consult on restoring the previously‑understood application of FBT to car parking benefits. Is there a program for this consultation?
    • Jennifer responded that we don’t usually consult during the caretaker period and that this is likely to be paused until after the election.

Action item

Consultation on car parking fringe benefits

Due date

31 May 2022


Nella Di Benedetto

Action item details

Provide members with an update on the consultation process.

  • It would be helpful to have an electronic lodgment option for FBT returns for clients who don’t have standard business reporting or a tax agent.
  • Being able to obtain clearer guidance is a key concern. Requirements for government clients can often differ to those for small business or individuals and depending on the situation can sometimes be contradictory.
    • Jennifer noted that implications for government clients are not always identified and to send through any such issues.

Action item

Provide examples of unclear guidance

Due date



GEWG members

Action item details

Members to provide the government relations team with examples of ATO guidance or requirements that are unclear for government clients and/or contradictory to guidance or requirements for small business or individuals.

  • The GEWG has resulted in good ideas being raised about how the government client experience can be improved. What is the shortlist of things the ATO considers are most important?
    • Jennifer responded that key priorities for the government relations team include
      • continuing the GEWG – we want to maintain the network and communication with members
      • understanding and addressing the drivers for a ‘concierge service’
      • exploring opportunities for dedicated government content on While this request is unlikely to be supported, we are considering what’s driving the need and how we might deliver the service required, for example, whether a newsletter would be a suitable solution.
  • There are ongoing issues in the government grants space, especially for government clients that deal with a large volume of grant recipients.
    • Jennifer advised that the ATO is currently updating GSTR 2012/2. Feedback received highlighted that examples in the ruling do not easily assist in understanding the application of the law. We have canvassed for contemporary examples we can use.

Action item

Provide examples of issues regarding grants

Due date

30 June 2022


GEWG members

Action item details

Members to provide the government relations team with examples of issues relating to grant payments.

  • Intermediaries are receiving queries from their government clients, in particular state government, with regards to the proposed ATO government assurance program, and are keen to learn more about this proposed assurance program.
    • Jennifer explained that the government relations team was currently reviewing governance frameworks in place for other client groups so we can leverage best practice. Jennifer further emphasised that the ATO is not proposing the implementation of justified trust reviews for government clients, but it did make sense to ensure the principles underpinning justified trust are incorporated into the assurance program and relevant frameworks.
  • Greater collaboration with regards to issues facing government clients would be appreciated. There is often a timeliness issue where information received from the GEWG is good, but not always timely.
  • There are often capacity issues within government tax teams, however, tax governance is seen as a risk and has been elevated in importance.
  • Working with an external provider to automate parts of the FBT return. There is a mandate for telematics and we are working to ensure the right data will be provided.
  • Some government entities are requesting deferrals to implement their solution for Single Touch Payroll Phase 2. They are working through what the timeline looks like regarding their solution.