In a recent speech to the Institute of Public Accountants, Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan said the ATO is working on a mission of “contribut[ing] to the economic and social wellbeing of Australians by fostering willing participation in the tax and superannuation systems”.
On the path to achieving this, Mr Jordan said the tax office is focusing on “the client experience”, by reducing red tape and “decluttering” its informational services.
“We have reduced the number of words on our website by approximately 5.3 million words (or 45 per cent), removing duplication and complexity to allow greater ease of use,” he said.
“And we have just implemented a simpler form of activity statement for businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million – now only requiring reporting against three labels about GST, instead of eight or nine.”
Mr Jordan also said the ATO has “emphasised prevention, rather than correction and ‘gotcha’” tactics, by introducing compliance guidelines and taxpayer alerts.
Not everyone is convinced about the impact of the ATO’s changes, with bookkeepers criticising the ATO for overstating its claims to have reduced the red tape burden for businesses.
It comes after the ATO came under intense scrutiny in late 2016 following a major outage in its reporting system for accountants and advisers, which caused widespread confusion and concern about reporting deadlines and lodgements.