Show download pdf controls
  • Glossary


    A new single key for businesses to access online government services with participating government agencies.

    Change program

    Comprises of a broad program of work which commenced in 2002. This included a number of projects that deliver new products and services for the community and new business processes and systems for the organisation. The scope of the program of work changed several times and we completed the revised scope of the change program in 2009-10.

    Data matching

    Bringing together data from different sources and comparing it.

    A powerful administrative and law enforcement tool to test taxpayer compliance with the law including audit and verification programs. It uses information matching systems to allow information from a variety of sources to be brought together, compiled and compared.

    Decision impact statement

    A succinct statement of the Commissioner's response to adverse and other significant decisions. The purpose of publishing a statement is to communicate to the community our view on the implications of a particular court or tribunal decision for us.

    Differentiated approach

    Understand different taxpayer attitudes towards compliance, level of tax risk and complexity, and to respond with the corresponding strategy.

    Enterprise risk framework

    A framework that provides a foundation for how risk management is implemented in the ATO. It gives a timelier and better understanding of risk and how to allocate appropriate resources.

    Excess contributions tax

    A tax you are liable to pay on contributions made to your super that exceed your concessional or non-concessional contributions cap.


    Assistance we provide to taxpayers to help them understand their obligations and entitlements. It does not address taxpayer's specific circumstances and is not binding on the Commissioner.

    Law administration practice statement

    Instructions to ATO officers that provide direction and assistance on the approaches to be taken in performing duties involving the application of the laws administered by the Commissioner of Taxation.

    Market segments

    We differentiate our responses to compliance risk according to the varying characteristics and level of risk in six defined market segments:

    • individual taxpayers
    • micro enterprises - annual turnover below $2 million
    • small-to-medium enterprises - annual turnover of between $2 million and $250 million
    • large businesses - business groups with an annual turnover above $250 million
    • non-profit organisations
    • government organisations.


    An online means for taxpayers to access information and services and to deal with us. So far we have developed two portals - the Tax Agent Portal and the Business Portal.

    Practice statement

    The Commissioner's formal and obligatory internal procedural directives to his subordinates on how they must conduct certain functions.


    Provides taxpayers or their agent with access to information from government agencies, financial institutions, employers and others that will automatically populate labels in their income tax return if they prepare it electronically.

    Private ruling

    A written expression of our opinion on the way in which a relevant provision applies, or would apply, to a particular taxpayer and is legally binding.

    Project Wickenby

    A joint taskforce of Australian Government agencies which aims to deter, detect and deal with international tax avoidance and evasion.

    Public ruling/determination

    The Commissioner's considered opinion on the way in which a relevant provision applies to taxpayers generally or a class of taxpayers. Any taxpayer covered by the ruling may rely on it and receive the associated protection.


    A form of alternative dispute resolution. It involves disputing parties to a legal case reaching a resolution to end the dispute without a trial.

    Standard business reporting

    An Australian government initiative designed to reduce the reporting burden for businesses in Australia. Simplifies government reporting and lodgment requirements for businesses and tax professionals.

    Superannuation co-contribution

    A government initiative to help eligible individuals boost their super savings for the future. For low and middle income taxpayers who make eligible personal super contributions to their super fund or retirement savings account, the government will then match up to $1,000 of your personal super contributions.

    Superannuation guarantee charge

    The amount that employers are obligated to contribute to a complying superannuation fund or retirement savings account for their employees.

    Total collectable debt

    This will differ from the reported total taxation receivables in the notes to the financial statements, due predominantly to the classification of debt raised, but not yet due, by the ATO.


    Administered expenses incurred by the ATO, including superannuation guarantee, superannuation co-contributions, and personal and business benefits and subsidies.

    Whole of government

    'Whole of government' denotes connecting public service agencies to work across portfolio boundaries to achieve a shared goal and an integrated government response to particular issues so that government services may be delivered in a seamless way.

      Last modified: 31 Oct 2011QC 28036