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05. Environment

Last updated 16 August 2022

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

Complexity, volatility and uncertainty across the environment present both opportunities and risks to our administration and the capabilities we require into the future.

Our changing environment requires us to anticipate and respond to emerging issues 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 opportunities and build our capability to deliver on our purpose.

Environmental themes and our approach

Policy and performance

The impacts of the pandemic are reflected in both government policy and ATO performance in the past year, and as we transition from the pandemic, we are shifting focus towards recovery and managing longer-term consequences of the virus. We are responsive to changing economic conditions, adjusting our strategies accordingly. Balancing debt recovery with small business support is one of the first steps towards revitalising our tax function.

Client perceptions

As we shift towards economic recovery and business as usual, we continue to work with taxpayers to ensure we understand their individual situation while balancing support, assistance, engagement and debt recovery. We plan to communicate with taxpayers who have fallen outside the system and support them towards compliance.

Data and technology

Growth and evolution in data capabilities and newer technologies has prompted a growing focus towards digitalisation. We are working towards establishing digital client identities and digitalising services whilst maintaining security and client privacy. Our focus has been to streamline and revitalise our digital presence without compromising security. We are making better use of our data so we can engage earlier with our clients to help them get things right, as well as to identify and take action on those who are not complying. We also recognise the value to the community of sharing data to support and inform government initiatives and have strong safeguards through data ethics principles and legislative provisions to ensure data is only shared when appropriate to do so.

Service evolution and adoption

The pandemic saw a boost in the uptake of digital and phone services. By building, improving, and leveraging our new digital platforms, we can provide greater tax education and in turn reduce the risk of scams and information fraud. The acceleration in digital services presents new opportunities for how taxpayers can engage with the tax, superannuation and registry systems, creating more streamlined and contemporary client experiences that make it easy to get tax right.

Future of work

What began as a health and safety response to the pandemic has become an important factor in how we work. Working from home has evolved over the last 2 years to become a common occurrence in a growing number of workplaces. Hybrid work arrangements are a new normal, and we have responded by providing staff the opportunity to partially work from home. This is in line with current trends in industry and will help us attract and retain the right skills and capabilities, particularly in the tighter labour market now being seen.


Developing technologies, growth in data and the current unpredictable geopolitical environment pose risks to cybersecurity. Cyberattacks have become increasingly prevalent in the past 12 months, and further digitalisation of the economy means this trend will continue. A wider-angle approach raised concerns about the new ways attackers are using an organisation’s external providers and supply chains to penetrate security measures. We are working with stakeholders to develop secure digital solutions to ensure safety and security of data.