Appendix 2 - Glossary


Practical and reasonable.


Whether, and to what extent, the changes in compliance behaviour and community confidence are the result of our compliance strategies, rather than other factors.

Business line

The structure we use to deliver the work of our sub-plans.


Continuity is necessary in order to make comparisons for trend analysis over time.

Compliance behaviour

Actions that can be observed by us through how a taxpayer fulfils their key compliance obligations. Also can be a symptom of non-compliance.

Compliance obligations

Four key compliance obligations that are likely to exist for almost all taxpayers:

  • registration
  • lodgment
  • reporting
  • payment.


Compliance risk management

A process for systematically identifying, assessing, ranking and treating tax-compliance risks.

Compliance strategy

A systemic plan of action that aims to bring about conformance with compliance obligations under the law that includes help and education, verification and enforcement.

Compliance sub-plan

One of six sub-plans in the ATO. The priorities for this sub-plan include delivering all new government policy initiatives and addressing priority risks under our Compliance Program.

Cost effectiveness

Evaluates the actual outcomes as a proportion of the total inputs used to produce them.

Desired outcome

The behaviour or circumstance we want to occur, or the need we want to satisfy. The overall intended consequences of a program of treatment strategies which reflect the desired changes in relation to taxpayer behaviours or community confidence.


Cause of compliance behaviour. We need to treat the causes (drivers) rather than the symptoms (behaviours) with the right mix of strategies.


Assesses the extent to which the actual outcomes of an activity align with the desired outcomes. Effectiveness is about doing the right things.


Assesses the relationship between the outputs and the inputs used to produce them. Efficiency is about doing things right.


Used where direct measures are too difficult or costly to obtain. The signs, clues or markers of progress or success.


The resources (such as staff and budgets) invested to produce outputs and outcomes.




Correspond to expected direct results at any particular performance level.


The effect or impacts of an activity or program. Oriented towards whether an organisation achieves its goals rather than on the immediate results of a process.


What is produced in order to fulfil expected outcomes. Usually associated with efficiency.

Program logic

A logical process which defines a program as a sequence of objectives.


Having descriptive characteristics. Investigates the how and why - for example, some taxpayers may be non-compliant by failing to pay their tax liabilities because of cash flow issues.


Having numeric value and, therefore, possible to measure, at least in principle - for example, the proportion of late lodgments in a given year.


Indicators must be relevant to what an organisation is aiming to achieve.

Ripple effect

Impacts of compliance strategies beyond the immediate target groups. The ripple effect should be examined to provide a balanced evaluation of the impacts of a compliance activity.

Risk manager

Manages the implementation of the mitigation strategy or a key part of it, including collecting and managing indicators for use in the evaluation of the mitigation strategy.


The standard AS/NZS 4360:2004 defines risk as the chance of something happening that will impact on objectives. Often specified in terms of an event or circumstance and the consequences that may flow from it.

Risk management committee

Oversees all compliance risk work in a business line and is responsible for prioritising compliance risk work for that business line.

Risk owner

Provides oversight for all aspects of the risk: identification, analysis, evaluation, mitigation, monitoring and reporting.


Clear and concise; not too broad.

Success goals

Reflect the desired outcomes at a more specific goal level. Success goals should focus on the changes being sought in the compliance behaviour of the target population and/or community confidence.


Continuing; ongoing over time.

Target group

The group that is targeted for a particular compliance strategy. Also referred to as the treatment group. The group whose behaviours you want to change.


Provide a realistic timeframe; producing data regularly enough to track progress.


Unprejudiced; impartial.

Voluntary compliance

Conformance with compliance obligations under the law, without any verification or enforcement activity by us.

Last modified: 19 Jan 2015QC 21200