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  • Use of technology

    The terms of reference require the review to express a view on whether technology is being used in the most efficient way in the ATO’s consultation processes. That question has a number of distinct aspects.

    Meetings

    In business, government and the professions, video-conferencing is increasingly being used to reduce, but not supplant, in-person meetings. It can be used very effectively. A number of interviewees, who are also involved in ACCC consultations, remarked positively on the superiority of the ACCC video-conferencing system. The ATO video-conferencing facilities were reportedly not up to that standard. If they were then, assuming availability, stewardship groups would have an opportunity to use videoconferencing, possibly in substitution for some in-person meetings. As one interviewee put it ‘possible improvements could include more video conferencing which seems to work well and saves travel’.

    However, when that proposition was tested with others it did not meet with strong support. Some thought that, with only two or three meetings per year, face-to-face meetings are best. They saw the discussions before the meeting and in the breaks as very beneficial for both the ATO attendees and the external attendees. They thought that this helped build relationships that were as useful to each outside the meetings as in them.

    The previous section, dealing with the ATO Consultation Hub, provides a view on the consultation pages of the ATO website and includes a suggestion in relation to australia.gov.auExternal Link

    Tax Issues Entry System

    The Tax Issues Entry System, the Australian Government initiative jointly managed by the ATO and The Treasury following a review by the Board of Taxation instituted by the Treasurer, provides an important opportunity for the community to raise issues relating to the care and maintenance of the Australia’s tax and superannuation systems.

    Consideration of that system is not within the scope of this review, other than to note that ties.gov.au is one way in which technology is used effectively in the consultation process.

      Last modified: 22 Sep 2015QC 46926