ato logo
Search Suggestion:

04. Environment

Last updated 8 August 2021

The tax and superannuation environment is complex, globally connected and disrupted by geopolitical shifts, emerging technologies and unpredictable events.

The increasing complexity, volatility and uncertainty across the environment presents both opportunities and risks to our administration and the capabilities the ATO requires into the future. Our changing environment requires us to anticipate and respond to emerging issues in order to deliver on our commitments to the Australian community and government over the period of this plan. Through a clear and shared understanding of our operating context, we harness the opportunities and build our capability to deliver on our purpose.

Table 2: Environment

Environmental themes and our approach

COVID-19 pandemic and supporting economic recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present uncertainty to the health, mobility and financial prosperity of Australians. The ATO plays a key role in contributing to Australia’s sustained economic recovery. We will continue to help the community as they recover from these challenging times – focusing on small businesses by providing quality tools and services. As Australia reopens and interim COVID-19 restrictions and response measures are lifted, we will provide balanced compliance approaches to ensure participation and fairness in the tax and superannuation systems.

Complexity of the tax and superannuation systems

The complexity of the tax and superannuation systems may impact the client experience. Complexity can increase with the introduction of new laws and measures as they interplay with existing rules, making it more challenging for clients to navigate their obligations and entitlements. We will continue to work with our partners and the community to understand their needs, and provide reliable advice and uncomplicated services that encourage ongoing engagement and participation.

Equity, fairness and confidence in the tax and superannuation systems

Understanding community perceptions of the tax and superannuation systems is critical to our ability to provide a service that is transparent and fair. We balance the need for guidance, support and empathy with our regulatory role by being transparent about the work we do, and keep the system fair by dealing with those who seek to exploit or undermine it. By creating a level playing field, we increase fairness in the tax system and build community confidence in our administration.

New ways of working to meet community expectations

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated new ways of working across Australia’s workforce. In response, the ATO moved rapidly to innovate and implement changes within our organisation and support priorities across the Australian Public Service (APS). A more joined-up APS overcomes barriers to deliver agile services for government and better experiences for our community.

The community expects government services to be tailored and integrated, with ‘humanised’ digital experiences that deliver more intelligent, simple and timely interactions. By leveraging data, insights and technology, we will build on our existing mix of communication services and channels to meet evolving community expectations.

Data and cyber security

New technologies and greater mobility of data, coupled with an unpredictable environment, present an ever-evolving risk to information security. The ATO has advanced cyber security mechanisms and is well equipped to manage and protect taxpayer information. We will continue to build our internal security capability to ensure we maintain community confidence, remain ‘future ready’ and operate as a cyber-resilient organisation.