Below are very selective extracts taken from the ATO Commissioner’s recent speech (5th July) to the National Press Club.
“As you may know, the lead up to this Tax Time has been different to years past, with the ATO experiencing unprecedented and unplanned outages in December, February, and just last week. These outages were highly unusual and disruptive for the users of our systems, particularly the tax profession, and the superannuation and software industries.
“I wish I could give an iron-clad guarantee that all systems will work 100% of the time. But that is not reality when you are talking about very large and complex systems. And while we believe we have done everything we can, and expect things will go smoothly, we are ready to respond quickly if there are any hiccups or unexpected outages.
“We are well aware that if we are to offer and encourage the use of digital services, then we have to have our systems available when people need them.
“The ATO will also continue with administrative reforms under our Reinvention Program, such as:
- earlier engagement, greater transparency and cooperation with clients and partners
- prevention and early warning, rather than correction and ‘gotcha’
- more sophisticated use of data for both service and compliance purposes
- increased digital service offerings and streamlined interactions
- better appreciation of, and empathy for taxpayers, and
- a sensible risk management framework.
“I want instead, to support mindsets where people feel more positive about their total tax experience – satisfied with their interactions and confident that the ATO is taking action against those who are not paying what they should.”