Indirect tax - fuel tax credit research 2013
Colmar Brunton Social Research (CBSR) was approached by the Tax Office to conduct research into fuel tax credits with both claimants and tax professionals.
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End of attention
- To determine fuel tax credit claimants’ and tax professionals’ (i.e. tax agents and BAS agents) level of awareness and understanding of each of the recent changes to the fuel tax credit rates, with a particular focus on the impacts of the introduction of the carbon charge
- To identify any gaps in information and/or level of understanding in regards to the suite of changes
- To provide recommendations for strategies on how the ATO can address any key information gaps and increase the level of understanding to ensure eligible entities are accurately calculating fuel tax credit amounts they are entitled to.
1 July 2012 changes - awareness levels - 67% were aware there had been changes to the fuel tax credits, while 25% said they were not aware. Based on this, the research also found that self-preparers’ significantly more likely to be aware of fuel tax credit changes than those who have claim managed by a tax professional (78% versus 38%. In addition, 98% of tax professionals were aware of the changes. Sources of awareness were letter/fact sheet from the ATO (24%), a newsletter/brochure provided with BAS (24%) worksheet, instructions and/or examples provided with BAS (19%).
Report recommendation - to focus on raising awareness of the desired behaviours in future communication products, rather than awareness or knowledge of the driver of fuel tax credit rate changes.
Areas for improvement
Continue to promote the use of ATO resources (such as online tools, rates table on ato.gov.au, worksheet) and explain that while the rates may change, using these resources ensures claimants will always have access to the correct rates when calculating fuel tax credits and therefore minimising the risk of incorrect claims.
How the research is being used
The research findings have been acted upon in several 2013 communications through the creation of a new tips sheet (for avoiding common errors) and the promotion of this sheet, Also there has been active promotion of online tools (which are used to determine eligibility and calculate claims) and strong positioning of online channel information (web, letters, PR articles, BAS newsletters) with audience communications.
In addition, the research findings are be used to help shape the communication strategy for the repeal of the carbon charge.
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