We provide high levels of service to our portfolio Ministers and the Parliament within the context of the Commissioner's statutory independence.
The Commissioner and Second Commissioners regularly met with the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation to discuss significant issues in taxation administration, significant tax related litigation and matters relating to the management of the ATO; and met less frequently with the Treasurer.
During 2010-11 we provided 362 formal minutes to our Ministers. Significant issues on which we briefed the Ministers included our assistance to the community following natural disasters, the petroleum resource rent tax and progress on Project Wickenby, and the outcome of court decisions such as the Anstis decision (which allowed expenditure incurred to derive Austudy payments).
In 2010-11 we drafted 985 pieces of correspondence for our Ministers for their consideration in response to letters from Members of Parliament and taxpayers. Some 238 of these were completed during the caretaker period.
We performed well in providing timely draft responses to ministerial correspondence, processing 98% within the agreed timeframe of 10 days (against a benchmark of 95%).
In relation to ministerial correspondence since 17 December 2010, when new taxpayer confidentiality provisions came into effect, we made 106 disclosures to Ministers under Division 355 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to enable them to respond directly to taxpayers.
We provided 55 question-time briefings for our Ministers to answer possible questions in parliament. These covered a range of current issues, including decisions in high-profile court cases and responses to various tax and superannuation issues canvassed in the media.
Regular contact with the offices of our Ministers indicated general satisfaction with our day-to-day services and the quality of the information we provided.